Runner Reunites With Stray Dog Who Joined Him On 155-Mile Race
"It's one of the best days of my life."
The remarkable story of a little stray dog named Gobi, who found the person who would be her dad after joining him on a 155-mile race across China, has taken an even more remarkable new turn.
This time, it was him going the extra mile for her.
Extreme marathon runner Dion Leonard, from Scotland, met Gobi last month while competing in the 4 Deserts Gobi March 2016, a six-day foot race weaving through Asia's largest desert. The homeless dog, who'd been living near the starting point, had apparently decided to participate as well, trotting alongside the other runners for the first 22-mile stretch.
The next day, Gobi was back at it - this time having chosen Leonard to be her running partner. She ran with him that whole stretch, too, and from that point on they became inseparable.
Incredibly, the athletic little dog kept with it, staying with Leonard to the very end of the grueling race. Afterward, he decided it was only fitting that he do all he could to bring her back to Scotland with him.
"Gobi picked me to be her pal for life," Leonard told The Dodo at the time.
Getting legal clearance to move a dog from China to the U.K. is not a quick or easy task, so Leonard left Gobi with a trusted friend and headed home to start the months-long process. But then the unthinkable happened - last week, Leonard got word that Gobi had gone missing.
Within days, Leonard was on a plane back to China to try to track her down himself.
Flyers in hand, Leonard scoured the city where Gobi was last seen.
Stray dogs are not uncommon in the area, so tracking down the beloved pup might have seemed like trying to find a needle in a haystack - but Leonard never gave up hope.
As unlikely as it all might have seemed, those efforts paid off.
On Wednesday, Gobi was found. A local had spotted the dog, recognizing her from Leonard's flyer, and called him to let him know. Soon, the pair were reunited.
"When we got there, I walked through the door and she came running towards me and ran around my legs and jumped up on me. It was love again at immediate sight," he told the BBC. "I'm going to try to do two things tonight: try not to cry and not to swear, I'm so excited. It's one of the best days of my life."
Gobi, too, was happy to finally be back in the arms of the person she loves most.
It will still take some more time to complete the process to have Gobi moved abroad to her forever home with Leonard. But this time, says the runner, he isn't going anywhere without her.
"I'll be staying here as long as it takes to make sure everything is in place."