When you think of races, long distances to cover in the blazing heat of the desert – the last thing on your mind would be a dog! But here is a story to melt any heart, of a little dog who found love in a hopeless place, and now has a hopeful future and a life full of love!

So here’s what happened: Renounced extreme marathon runner, Dion Leonard, made his way to China’s biggest and more barren desert – the Gobi Dessert. He planned on competing in a major 7-day marathon across the sands and hoped to take home a medal or some form of recognition for his efforts. But what he got instead was so much more, and a companion for life.

A candid picture of Gobi

As Leonard started off, a small furry dog began to follow him. She tried her best to keep pace with him, running alongside and panting as they made their way. He thought she would give up soon – considering the fact that she was so little and couldn’t take the distance, heat and several other factors that dogs can’t handle.

However, to cut a long story short, the little Chinese dog ran with Dion all the way to the finish line. She even got her own medal! Of course, she managed a cool 125 kilometres out of the total 250 kilometre race. That’s a lot for a pooch her size, but her devotion to this random stranger sportsman on her turf is something to admire.

Dion and Gobi resting after a long day on a run in the sun

Dion Leonard is now a proud father. After she refused to leave his side, including camping with him, sleeping next to him and taking this amazing journey together with him, he christened her “Gobi” after the scorching desert he met her in, and plans on taking her back to his home country, England. Dion says of her: “The dog was more famous than anyone in the race. She was in everyone’s blogs and emails and was all over the race photos, making her the star of the race. Gobi really became the race’s mascot. She embodied the same fighting spirit as the competitors”. You can help reunite Gobi with her beloved Dion by helping the crowdfunding efforts through Bring Gobi Home.