We like to think that as humans, we’re the ones calling the shots when choosing and adopting our pets. But, sometimes, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, our pets end up choosing us. And that is exactly what happened when an extreme marathon runner ended up getting adopted by a little stray pup while he was partaking in a 155-mile race across China’s Gobi desert.
Dion Leonard met the female pup, appropriately named Gobi, while he was racing in China. Thanks to the success of his crowd-funding campaign, Leonard was able to pay for the medical costs and quarantine expenses needed to transport her all the way from China back to his home in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Of course, when Leonard went to China, he had absolutely no intention of coming home with a dog. However, it would seem that the fates had other plans for him. According to The Independent, Leonard was only on his second day of the annual 4 Deserts Race Series. However, when he met Gobi on that day, the little dog ended up running by his side for an entire 77 miles!
As Leonard shared with The Independent, “At the finish line she followed me into the tent and we slept next to each other. That was it then.”
He’d also mentioned to the media outlet that he’d first noticed Gobi on the first day, running with 101 runners, however, on that second day, it was only him that she was looking at.
Leonard revealed, “This was the first contact I had with her and as I ran off the line I noticed her by my side. I didn’t speak much to her that day thinking she wouldn’t stay with me, but at the finish line she followed me into the tent and we slept next to each other. That was it then.”
During the race, the two got closer and they were sharing his sleeping area, food, and water with the pup. Their bond was solidified. He was happy to help his new pup whenever he could.
As he’d written on his Crowdfunder page, “I carried her across rivers and over sluice gates she could not cross on her own.”
Once the race had finished, Leonard knew that he could not leave without her. That is when he began to research a way to get Gobi back home to the UK with him.
However, it wasn’t as simple as getting on a plane – Leonard learned that it was going to take four months to get Gobi ready and cleared for entry to the UK. She had to be medically checked and quarantined beforehand.
And the cost was not going to be cheap as the total for everything was $6,560 USD. That is when Leonard ran a crowdfunding campaign. Luckily for Leonard, many people contributed and the campaign raised $13,330 USD.
Speaking to the BBC in 2016, Leonard mentioned that Gobi was left with a friend in China while waiting for everything to be cleared – hoping for a Christmas arrival.
As he’d said, “That would be amazing. That would be the best Christmas present ever.”
Luckily for Leonard, he was able to begin his 2017 with his best friend by his side in Scotland. Gobi really picked the right human to adopt.