As we come out of lockdown and you can walk your dog with more of your friends and family, we thought we'd find some stories of dogs that been on increadible journeys to inspire you to get out and about.
Each tale tells an epic dog journey and shows the emotional bond that exists between dogs and humans.
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Bobbie the Wonder Dog
For Bobbie the Wonder Dog there was no place like home.
In August 1923, Bobbie and his owners, Frank and Elizabeth Brazier, with their daughters Leona and Nova, were visiting relatives in Wolcott, Indiana. This was a long journey from their home of Silverton, Oregon on the West Coast of the United States.
During a stop in Indiana, Bobbie, a two-year-old Scotch Collie/English Shepherd, was attacked and chased off by three other dogs. After a week of searching and placing newspaper ads, the heart-broken Braziers had to give up and start the drive home. They sadly never expected to see Bobbie again.
But six months later, he miraculously returned home to Silverton. He showed signs of having walked the entire 2,500 miles on his own, including swimming rivers and during the coldest part of the winter.
People who had fed and sheltered Bobbie on his journey wrote to the family to tell about their time with Bobbie. The Humane Society of Portland was able to use these stories to help put together a relatively precise description of the route Bobbie took to find his way home.
Tom and his dog Savannah are walking around the world
When Tom Turcich started his round the world adventure in 2015, he quickly decided he needed a four-legged companion to join him.
Tom had originally started his trek from his home in New Jersey but when he arrived in Austin, Texas he decided to pay a visit to an adoption centre where he was introduced to a three-month-old puppy called Savannah.
Tom was inspired to embark on a five-year trek across seven continents following the death of two close friends.
Since meeting Savannah, the two have been inseparable and they’ve covered 18,000 miles and travelled through numerous countries. After leaving the United States they entered Mexico and continued south into Central and South America before taking a flight and continuing their travels across Europe.
Tom and Savannah are currently in Azerbaijan, and their plans have been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic; but their journey is far from over. They have another two years and 7,000 miles to go before they finish.
Roselle the 9/11 guide dog
On 11 September 2001, Roselle embarked on a short but vital walk that saved her owner’s life. She helped lead her blind owner Michael Hingson to safety during the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took place on the World Trade Center.
Roselle was asleep under her owner's desk on the 78th floor in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center when the attack started.
Roselle not only led Michael safely down 78 flights, she also provided final comfort to firefighters in the stairwell by letting them pet her as they headed up to tackle the ensuing disaster.
It took Roselle and her owner 50 minutes to walk down the 1,463 stairs to the lobby. Once there, she was able to stop and drink some water on the floor that had leaked from broken pipes. This helped cool her and give her relief for her enflamed throat. It took another 10 minutes to get out of the building and onto the street.
Roselle passed away in 2011 and was posthumously named American Hero Dog of the Year by American Humane; an organisation founded in 1877 committed to the safety, welfare and wellbeing of animals.
Balto, the dog that helped saved a town
Balto’s epic journey saved the inhabitants of a small American town in Alaska.
In 1925, the town of Nome in Alaska faced an outbreak of diphtheria, a highly contagious infection that can be potentially fatal affecting the nose, throat and sometimes the skin. Although rare today as most people are vaccinated against it, this wasn’t the case in 1925.
No treatment was available in the town. In an attempt to save the town’s inhabitants, 20 teams of sled dogs transported a vital anti-toxin over 674 miles of ice and snow in just six days, through the most brutal winter conditions seen in decades.
Balto led his team on the final leg of the dog sled relay, which became known as the 1925 serum run to Nome or the Great Race of Mercy.
Balto became the most famous dog in the country. Today there are two statues of Balto in his honour. One in Anchorage, the state capital of Alaska and one in Central Park in New York.
Hachiko, one dog’s loyal journey
Epic journeys aren’t only about covering long distances or difficult terrain. The story of the Japanese dog Hachiko tells us that a simple journey repeated many times can be meaningful.
In the early 1920s, Hachiko was adopted by Eizaburo Ueno a professor in agriculture science at Tokyo University in Japan.
Each day Hachiko would see his owner off to work in the morning at Shibuya Train Station, in central Tokyo. Later in the afternoon, he would return to the station to greet his owner when he had finished work. This continued every day until 21 May 1925 when Ueno sadly died while at work from a brain haemorrhage.
Every day for the next nine years, nine months and fifteen days, Hachiko went back to the train station to await Ueno's return. He would appear each day at a precise spot at the station. Hachiko soon became a well-known sight for commuters travelling through the station until he eventually died in 1935.
Because of his famous daily routine, his own death made headlines, and he was cremated and buried next to his beloved owner.
If you ever visit Tokyo, make sure you pay a visit to his statue which has become a famous landmark outside Shibuya station.
Cactus the marathon-running desert dog
Cactus was the name given to one enthusiastic dog who decided to take part in the Marathon de Sables often referred to as ‘the toughest footrace on earth’.
The race is split into six stages and run over seven days through 140 miles of the Sahara Desert in Morocco.
When the race passed through his village, Cactus said goodbye to his Australian owner Karen Hadfield who had previously called him ‘Diggedy’ and joined the race.
Cactus joined the second stage of the race and finished the third stage in just four hours and 30 minutes to claim 52nd place out of around 800.
Cactus quickly became a fans favourite as he completed the next stages of the race.
By the and final stage, Cactus had been given an official number “000” and a tracking device so that the public could follow his progress. His epic journey saw him run through a variety of weather and terrain. This included southern Morocco’s desert heat, winds, sand dunes, rocks, plateaus, and valleys.
When he finally crossed the finish line, he was met by cheers and applause from the crowd and was given an official medal by the organisers.
Occy's thunderstorm escape
Occy’s fear of thunderstorms saw him embark on an epic journey back to a place he knew he would feel safe.
In 2014, Occy’s owner Philippa Johnston left her hometown of Newcastle, Australia to visit relatives in New Zealand. She asked her friend Belinda ‘Binny’ Murray to look after Occy while she was away.
When Binny arrived at her friend’s house, a huge thunderstorm was raging but there was no sign of Occy. Scared by the storm it appeared that Occy had scaled the property’s 1.8m fences and disappeared into the night.
After two days of searching for Occy, Binny had to make the sad call to her friend telling her that Occy had gone.
Just before Philippa was due to fly home, she received a phone call from a Claudia Jones and RSPCA inspector. She had picked up a very scared and limping Occy who was severely dehydrated with blistered paws and looked totally exhausted.
Claudia assumed he'd been picked somewhere in her hometown but in fact he had been found over 100 miles away in Sydney.
His journey would have taken Occy through national parks, across freeways and over the Hawkesbury River. He was picked up less than 6 miles from the Strathfield foster home where he had lived before the Johnston’s adopted him as a three-month-old puppy.
Occy was eventually reunited with his family and his journey confirmed to Philippa, the incredible bond that exists between humans and pets.