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The South Jersey dog that was the first to walk around the world has died

Rita Giordano, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

PHILADELPHIA — Savannah, a once-rescue-puppy who enthusiastically accompanied her South Jersey owner Tom Turcich on a seven-year walk around the world, has died.

Savannah, a retriever that Turcich adopted from a Texas animal shelter four months into his The World Walk, was euthanized at a New Jersey animal hospital Sunday after treatment for kidney problems and other issues.

"I never knew anything could hurt this bad," Turcich posted on his Instagram page in memory of his nearly 9-year-old companion.

"I won't go into details right now but her numbers were unrecoverable. We spent our last three hours together with her laying on my chest just like we used to do when it was too cold or rainy in the tent."

The unflappable Savannah was the first dog to walk around the world and Turcich was the 10th person to do so. They concluded their grand adventure on May 21, 2022, two years to the day before Savannah's passing. They were welcomed back to South Jersey with a celebration in their honor in Camden County, complete with balloons, hometown hugs, and a pup cup for Savannah.

Turcich was moved to start his epic sojourn after the death a close friend AnnMarie Lynch in a jet ski accident.

Turcich, now 35, set off from his parents' home in Haddon Township in April 2015. Over the course of seven years, he and Savannah covered over 25,000 miles and six continents, ending in Antarctica.


Last June, Turcich published an illustrated book, Savannah's World of Adventure: Crossing the Andes. It's all about his canine companion's experience of the Argentine leg of their sojourn.

Savannah, of course, figures to be a big presence in Turcich's forthcoming book about their expedition.

Since Turcich posted word of Savannah's passing, his Instagram has been flooded with messages of condolences, including from people who followed the duo's travels via social media.

More recent posts were of Savannah in treatment, wearing a medical head cone and wagging her tail despite her failing health.

"I never took a moment with her for granted," Turcich wrote. "Grateful that I had the presence of mind to take it all in."

(c)2024 The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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