Last winter, we profiled a crazy group of buddies from England who — while drinking at a pub, of course — cooked up a plan to walk to the World Cup in Brazil.
The plan was to travel exactly 1,966 kilometers on foot. It's a symbolic distance, because 1966 is the last time England won soccer's greatest prize.
They also wanted to raise money to build a well in the Brazilian state of Bahia. The farming communities there have been raveged by severe drought.
All in all, a great idea. But let's be honest. Back in January I doubted these bar buddies could actually walk that distance — about 1,200 miles.
— Walk to the WorldCup (@Walk2WorldCup) April 28, 2014
But when we checked back with one of the walkers, Adam Burns, he gleefully told us his location: Porto Alegre, Brazil. That was their planned final vacation. They walked into town on Sunday, though they're only halfway to their goal of raising enough money to build a well in Bahia. They need another £10,000, or $16,000 to fully fund the project.
But there's more to the story. The three-member team added another walker to become four. Nike heard about the trip and sent them English national team uniforms.
But the team wasn't complete with just four human members. A four-legged friend decided to join in on the action. Burns and company were walking though Uruguay when a black lab started following them. "We thought he was a stray because he smelled so bad," Burns says.
The crew walked another couple miles and the dog was still following them. Initially, they thought nothing of this pooch, because plenty of other strays had followed them before. But this wasn't any dog.
At a cafe, the dog crawled under the table where they ate. The group tried to shoo the dog away. It didn't work.
That night, they setup their tents and went to sleep. The next morning, the dog was there. The dog continued to follow them for the next day. And the next morning, there the dog sat, ready to keep going. "That was five weeks ago," Burns adds. "And 800 kilometers."
"Jefferson Ramsey Moore," the name they ended up giving the dog, completed the rest of the trip with them.
But eventually, a man named Nacho saw a story about a group of Englishmen walking to Brazil with a black lab dog in tow. It wasn't just any dog, that was his missing dog, "Negro," (Spanish for black).
Nacho contacted the foursome and told them he was the owner of the resiliant pup. He hitchhiked his way to Porto Alegre, arriving the same day the guys and the dog finished their walk. Nacho was reunited with his furry friend, who was oblivious to his new doggie celebrity status.. He just seemed happy to see Nacho.
"I don't think Walt Disney could have made a more perfect ending," Burns says.
Here's a great shot taken by a Brazilian journalist of the Walk the World Cup boys & Jefferson on another 38km day. pic.twitter.com/zbpAMWEEXK
— Adam Burns (@AdamBurnsPR) May 31, 2014
Check out some of the images we've collected from the Walk to the World Cup group's social media channels here.