China / Society

Nothing can separate marathon runner and his dog mate

By Wang Mengzhen ( Updated: 2016-09-12 15:26
Nothing can separate marathon runner and his dog mate

Australian marathon runner Dion Leonard who currently live in UK finishes the Gobi March Race, with the company of the stray dog Gobi in June, 2016.[Photo/IC]

She accompanied him across 123km in the grueling Gobi Desert; now, he's decided to bring her home to the UK and lead a happy life together. But it hasn't always been a fairy tale for these two – they've had their fair share of ups and downs in the past three months. This time, though, nothing is going to tear them apart.

This is the story of ultra-marathon runner Dion Leonard and a stray dog Gobi, which has touched the hearts of many people since the duo reunited in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, after Gobi had been missing for some time.

On September 10, Leonard and Gobi were spotted walking together with Gobi on a leash, this time outside a cafe in Beijing. It comes as Leonard returned to China from Scotland after he asked for a 6-month leave from his employer.

"After the marathon race, I have already set up my mind to bring Gobi back to UK, though I kept it very secretly," Leonard said in Beijing, "All I needed was to ask for a leave from my boss and deal with some family matters, and I sincerely hope I can keep Gobi company."

Nothing can separate marathon runner and his dog mate

Australian marathon runner Dion Leonard runs along with the stray dog Gobi during the Gobi Desert race in June, 2016. [Photo/IC] 

In June, the stray dog joined Leonard in the 250-kilometer Gobi March race on the second day, and ran with him during days three and six. As a result, a strong bond has been established between the pair.

However, Gobi suddenly went missing on August 15 before her trip to the UK. Saddened by the news, Leonard flew to Urumqi on August 21, believing he could find her.

After volunteers' tireless efforts in the search, a miracle happened when a Urumqi resident found a dog which looking like Gobi at a local restaurant. The pair finally reunited on August 24.

Gobi is now receiving some medical treatment for her leg injuries, while Leonard will take care of her in Beijing after the operation. His wife, also a marathon enthusiast, is due to visit Gobi in October and spend Christmas with their new family member in Beijing.

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