AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin dog finished her seven-year trek around the globe alongside her best friend, Tom Turcich.
Motivated to make the most of his life after the passing of a close friend, Turcich set off on a 25,000-mile walk across the world in 2015. The New Jersey resident started out alone, but soon realized he needed more protection while camping in unknown areas around the globe, an Austin Pets Alive! spokesperson told KXAN.
Turcich’s trip took him to Austin, which is where he found Savannah.
Adopted from Austin Pets Alive! when she was 3 months old, Savannah began her journey of becoming the first dog to walk around the world in September 2015, APA! said.
According to a blog Turcich created to recount his journey, the two protected each other along the way whether it be by Turcich taking Savannah to the vet due to a tick or Savannah growling to make Turcich aware of a nearby boar.
“We’ve spent nearly every minute of every day together and from navigating chaotic cities and strange new environments Sav and I are totally in sync,” Turcich said in a Reddit post.
What began as a need for protection turned into a close friendship over time.
In 2018, Turcich became sick with bacterial colitis. He was unable to retain food and was depleted of energy.
“At the sight of Savannah, I suddenly felt well enough to move,” Turcich wrote in a blog post.
At the end of May, the two returned home to New Jersey alongside supporters who joined the last stretch of their long walk that, at times, added up to 30 miles in one day.
“It was the first time since the Camino in Spain that Sav and I weren’t walking on our own. Everyone with us, cheering us on, made the last nine miles a breeze,” Turcich said in an Instagram post.
A spokesperson for APA! told KXAN that this was “the most amazing story that APA! has ever been a part of.”
Following the duo’s return, Turcich was surprised with videos from APA!’s President and CEO Dr. Ellen Jefferson as well as Austin City Council Member Kathy Tovo, who recited a proclamation from the City of Austin, APA! said.
The proclamation declared June 1, 2022 as Savannah and Tom Turcich Day in Austin.
“When he arrived in Austin, Texas, he knew he wanted a dog as a companion for the trip,” Tovo read from the proclamation signed by Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
The proclamation added that Turcich and Savannah brought “global awareness to the human and animal connection.”