Any dog owner knows just how loyal pups can be— they’ll trot alongside you to the ends of the Earth. But this usually happens once a dog joins your family, not before.
One little dog, however, found her person and was determined to get adopted. The pup spotted extreme marathon runner Dion Leonard at the beginning of the 4 Deserts Gobi March 2016, a 6-day, 155-mile race through China’s largest desert.
On the first day of the race, a stray dog joined in, running alongside the human participants.
The little pup committed to the cause, keeping up with the runners for the first 22-mile stretch. Leonard had noticed her at the runner’s camp, but assumed she’d wander off eventually.
But she showed up again ready for day two.
“On Day 2, I was at the start line for the race stage and she was standing next to me looking up at me,” Leonard told The Dodo. “I thought to myself this little dog isn’t going to last very long at my side as we raced off, but she ended up running the whole day and 23 miles distance.” Once the two finished the second stretch, they were inseparable, and Leonard named his new running Buddy Gobi.
Gobi accompanied her new BFF for day three of the race.
She happily trotted along for 26-miles.”For a little dog Gobi certainly has a big heart and some pace to match,” Leonard said.
Unfortunately, Gobi had to sit out for the next two days because of extreme weather. However, organizers gave her a ride Instead to the ending point so she could be wait for Leonards arrival.
Gobi joined in for the sixth and final day— and she and Leonard crossed the finish together. She ran over half of the 155-mile race.
But the two buddies couldn’t just go their separate ways after the experience. Leonard is hoping to bring Gobi home to Scotland so they can be a family (are you overwhelmed by the cuteness yet?)
The process won’t be easy. Getting a dog cleared to enter the UK is a long process, involving money, medical checks, and even a four-mouth quarantine. But Leonard is determined to bring his pup home. Gobi is currently staying with a friend in China until she can reunite with her dad.
In the meantime, they’ve set up a CrowdFunder page where supporters can donate to cover Gobi’s moving costs.
“Gobi picked me to be her pal for life” Leonard said. “So I am doing what I can with some great support from around the word to make this happen.”
We can barely handle the cuteness. Here’s to hoping they can reunite soon! (h/t the dodo)