Her name is Savannah. She lives in New Jersey. Seven years, nearly 40 countries, and 28,583 miles ago, she set off with her owner, Tom Turcich, on a walk across the globe. This past Saturday the two of them walked into New Jersey, finishing the adventure. Turcich became the 10th man to walk around the world. But Savannah is the first dog to do it.
Savannah has had quite the life. Turcich rescued her from a shelter in Texas as a puppy. She’s grown up on the road, never knowing what it means to get to know a place. The most well-traveled dog in history is finally going to stop walking, turn around three or five times, then take a seat in her home.
Turcich embarked when he was 26. Two of his childhood friends unexpectedly died when he was a teenager, shocking Turcich into a realization that life is unpredictable, occasionally short, and doesn’t wait for you. He felt like moving, exploring, experiencing. So he saved up money throughout his early 20s, and just before his birthday, packed up gear and started walking southeast.
“It was hard in the beginning,” said his mom Catherine of watching her son grieve, then begin a monumental journey with no end in sight. “He was so young … and I thought: what’s he getting himself into? But once he got through South America I realised he knew what he was doing, and that’s when I bought into it and embraced it.”
Turcich began the trip by himself, but after sleepless nights and some loneliness on the road, he decided to find a dog as a partner. He pulled into a shelter in Austin and there was Savannah. Just a few months old, abandoned on the side of a Texas highway. Turcich found his buddy.
It was supposed to be a continuous five-year journey. But COVID restrictions, illnesses, and bureaucratic setbacks meant Tircuch and Savannah had to be creative and piece together a route that circumnavigated the world (you can see his route at theworldwalk.com, though you’ll have to join as a Patreon supporter).
Savannah nearly died of an illness in South America. She was held up at knifepoint with Turcich. The pair endured blistering heat in jungles. But still, little Savanah kept padding right alongside Turcich.
“There were these days in Peru when we’d be walking in the desert and I was really, really dragging, as the days were so monotonous … and I remember looking down at Savannah wondering how she feels,” Turcich told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“But she does the 24 miles, eight hours a day, without complaint – and her tail is always held high. She’s a true professional.”
Top photo, and plenty more at: @theworldwalk