By, Jo Carol Hebert
“My Human Companion, Tom”
Tom Turcich wanted to walk around the world. After much planning, research and counsel from former ‘world-walkers’, he designed a roadmap. (He’s very smart). And, in April, 2015, he set out alone to be the 10th person to ever have walked around the world. But, with all ‘great plans of mice and men’, the 33-year old adventurer would find out that there are always variables, changes of course, and surprises along the way. I was one of the first surprises along the way.
A few months after launching his journey from Haddon, New Jersey, he passed through Austin, Texas. Tom wanted to get a dog for all the practical reasons that make the dog ‘man’s best friend’: Protection along the way, and guarding camp at night. So, he headed over to an animal shelter to look for ‘the perfect dog’. He saw me and my sister, two puppies found on the side of the highway (quite fitting for a traveling dog).
Tom chose me. It was ’love at first sight. My sister also found a good home.
These Paws Were Made For Walkin’
For the next seven years, we trekked across the continents of the world – over mountains, across deserts and wilderness and through cities. We left our pawprints and footprints in South America, Denmark, Spain, North Africa, Italy and Asia. COVID hit and we had to skirt around Australia. We continued to Kyrgyzstan in the summer of 2021. Then flew back to America and hiked back home to New Jersey.
Food and water can be scarce in remote regions. Food and water can be polluted. Tom kept me special ‘doggy’ food and drinking water in his pack.
It wasn’t a problem for me to get across borders. I had all my dog shots and most people didn’t mind a dog coming over.
I especially loved the snowy regions.
Sick As a Dog
In a wilderness in Peru, South America, I got a serious ‘tick infection’. It was ‘touch and go’ for a while. Tom got me to a Veterinarian after a 5-hour cab drive. I was ok.
We caught a boat to Antarctica, where Tom got really sick with a fever and we were down for 7 months. We got back on track, but we were out of shape and had to gather strength to travel on.
Other dogs were a problem in South America. But, I have a good disposition and I just let them sniff me and see that I wasn’t a threat. So, we got through South America. But in the Pacific Southwest of America, I got ‘sprayed’ by a skunk in Kansas. In Colorado, I tangled with a porcupine and got needles in my snout. I learned to stay away from those ‘critters.’
Keep On Going
Usually, Tom left me unleashed and I walked close by his leg. I learned about traffic and got road-smart real quick. I like to go sniffing around country roads and chase squirrels. I would never run far from my master.
I had to keep Tom going and stay perky but sometimes, I was really struggling in the deserts. We walked 20-30 miles a day. I got tired but I kept my tail up (like “keeping your chin up”) so Tom wouldn’t get discouraged.
Home At Last
Finally, we got home on May 21, 2022, back to New Jersey. We took some serious down time. Tom is going to publish a memoir about our travels. I don’t walk so much anymore. But I still like to run around. I’m getting older – 7/years old – and Tom says it’s time to slow down. But sometimes, I have dreams of those far away places where we walked across the world. In my dreams, my legs are running. Tom wakes me up and says, “It’s ok, Savannah, we’re home now.” So I go back to sleep.
What do you think of this amazing duo? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section!
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