Here’s a heartwarming story if there ever was one. Dion Leonard is a hardcore marathoner. Really hardcore. The Scottish athlete was competing in the 250km (155 miles!) “Gobi Desert March” race in China back in March.
He was getting ready for Day Two of the 4 Deserts Race Series when “Gobi,” (as he’s since named her) decided to run with him for 77 miles! Leonard had noticed Gobi tagging along with some runners on the first day, but on the second day, Gobi lined up right next to him.
“During the race I had to make small allowances to ensure Gobi’s safety and completion of the stages she ran,” Leonard told WBUR in Boston. “I carried her across rivers and over sluice gates she could not cross on her own. Gobi rested on Day 4 and Day 5 due to the heat of the desert but waited for me at the finish line and I knew then this was no ordinary dog and experience. After completing the race I began looking into how to get Gobi from China to me in Edinburgh, Scotland.”
Leonard started a Crowdfunder campaign to raise the necessary funds ($6,500 USD) to transport Gobi from China to Scotland. The funds will cover the cost of transportation, medical checkups, quarantine and more.
“Everyone from the competitors, volunteers and race crew fell in love with this little dog that captured all our hearts,” Leonard wrote on the Crowdfunder page. “Gobi took a shine to me and over the week we developed an unbreakable bond as I shared my sleeping space, food/water and ultimately our companionship.”
The best part of the story?
Gobi is currently with some friends of Leonard’s in China…
…but all the funds have now been raised! In fact, the goal was exceeded.
Leonard hopes Gobi will be with him by Christmas!
We hope so, too.