Dogs are incredible animals. They demonstrate tremendous amounts of affection, they get excited over life’s simplest pleasures (which, in the process, reminds us to do the same), and when they find someone they connect with, they are fiercely loyal. Even stray dogs, that hardly have an easy life, show an incredible amount of tenderness to people they just met.

Dion Leonard recently witnessed the kindness stray dogs are capable of first hand while participating in an extreme marathon in China. He was taking part in 4 Desert Race when he met Gobi, the dog, in the Tian Shah mountain range. While many stray dogs are a bit hesitant around people they first meet, Gobi was not. She followed Dion, step by step, along the seven-day, 250-kilometer run. Pretty impressive stamina for such a tiny pup!

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Unsurprisingly, Leonard and Gobi formed an incredible bond. 

Marathan Pup 4

Leonard shared everything with the sweet stray, from water and food to sleeping space. The duo were inseparable, to say the least.

Marathon pup 2

“There were times during the race when, you know I’m there to race and compete and I’m trying to do my best to win the race but we had to cross some really large rivers where I would have to carry her over them. I didn’t actually have the time to do it but I realized then that I had to take her with me and the bond was made,” Leonard shared in an interview with the BBC.

Marathon Pup 6

When the marathon ended, Leonard felt he could not simply leave Gobi behind. So, instead, he decided to adopt her! 

Marathon pup 1

To cover the expensive medical and quarantine costs of bringing Gobi from China to Scotland, Leonard started a crowdfunding appeal, and his goal has been surpassed! Once she is cleared, Gobi will be heading to her forever home! 

Marathon Pup 5

 

This story is a testament to the amazing things that can happen when people open their hearts to stray dogs. Considering Leonard was in a competitive race, he could have easily seen Gobi as a burden that was slowing him down. However, the fact that he decided to not only share his food, space, and attention with her, but at the end of it all, give her the greatest gift of all, is truly incredible. We wish these two nothing but the best, this is the beginning of a lifelong friendship!

All image source: Bring Gobi Home/Crowdfunder