Gobi the stray dog gets adopted after running across a desert

There is no doubt that dogs are the most loyal little creatures with incredible intuition. This little stray terrier has run across the Gobi Desert to prove her loyalty to the man that she has chosen to love her back. This is Gobi and here is her story.

Gobi the stray dog

4 Deserts Race / Bring Gobi Home

It was during the Gobi Desert race in 2016 when Australian Dion Leonard noticed a small dog nipping at his yellow gaiters. Leonard, who is based in Edinburgh, Scotland, had seen the dog hanging around camp the night before.  

“Once we had begun the stage Gobi seemed to like the bright yellow colour of my gaiters and proceeded to run next to me,” said Leonard, who finished second in his first 4 Deserts race. “When she came into camp she followed me straight into my tent, laid down next to me and that was that – a bond had been developed.”

After crossing the Stage 1 finish line, Gobi came into camp and never left. As the days went by, she quickly became the star of the race, with competitors sharing their carefully rationed food with the little dog and snapping plenty of photos with her. But it was Leonard who she stuck with the most.

“I didn’t [adopt her], Gobi seemed to adopt me!” Leonard said. “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.”

After she followed Leonard into his tent, she refused to sleep anywhere else and became his newest tentmate – and a protective one at that.

“She was the best dog you could imagine – no barking, no biting, no chewing on things, no rooting through bags or stealing socks,” said Richard Henson, who shared a tent with Leonard and Gobi. “If one of us would get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break, upon coming back into the tent, Gobi would let out a little growl until she confirmed who you were. If Dion got up, she would follow him and escort him there and back. It was a really special bond between Dion and Gobi.”

Gobi the stray dog gets adopted

4 Deserts Race / Bring Gobi Home

Henson and tentmates Allen Kerton and Mike Read noticed that the bond was so strong that they soon began to encourage Leonard to adopt Gobi and bring her to the UK with him.

Gobi the stray dog gets adopted

“As soon as I got back to the hotel after the race, I rang my wife and said to her ‘do you think our cat will mind if I bring Gobi home’?” Leonard said.

Leonard has since started the long and expensive process of bringing Gobi back to the UK. With estimated costs of up to GBP 5,000 and many Gobi March 2016 competitors looking to help, Leonard has set up a crowd funding page at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bring-gobi-home/. For now, Gobi remains in Urumqi and is being cared for by the Gobi March’s local manager, Medina.

4 Deserts Club member Derek Kwik is the Chairman of the SPCA in Hong Kong and is also helping Leonard in his efforts to bring Gobi home.

While dogs have followed competitors on past 4 Deserts races, this was the first time that a dog had been so fast and had completed so many stages.

“There was something about the little dog in the Gobi that captivated everyone,” 4 Deserts founder Mary Gadams said. “At the end of Stage 3 she was limping and actually threw up at the finish line so we took charge and banned her from moving until she rested and was checked out by a doctor. Gobi really became the race’s mascot – she embodied the same fighting spirit as the competitors. She also rarely barked and wasn’t very demanding so we all had to take the time to try and feed her and force her to drink water.”

Gobi the stray dog gets adopted

4 Deserts Race / Bring Gobi Home

While Gobi’s energetic spirit touched many of the competitors, she also embodied the race’s sense of team work and the competitors’ willingness to help others in need, especially when her small stature meant she required help herself.

“On Stage 3 I had to carry Gobi across a wide river and then over a water sluice gate that she couldn’t have passed on her own,” Leonard said. “I went on to win this stage but at the time I was actually in third place and had a lot of work to do to catch up to the leaders. It’s fair to say that I didn’t really have the time to fetch and carry her, but I realised then I couldn’t leave her behind.”

Just as he did on Stage 3, Leonard is again doing everything he can to bring Gobi with him. This time, for good. 

Want to run with your dog?

Even though little Gobi ran all that way by herself, there are ways to make running with your dog easier and safer. Here are some running accessories that you may want to try.

Tuff Mutt - Hands Free Dog Leash for Running

Hands Free Dog Leash for Running, Walking, Hiking, Durable Dual-Handle Bungee Leash, Reflective Stitching, 4-Foot Long, Adjustable Waist Belt (Fits up to 42" waist)

Running leash for your dog

EASY GLIDE BELT CLIP: Unlike other hands free leashes which force your leash to stay in one position, our durable clip smoothly slides along the lightweight belt allowing your dog move easily from side to side which means more freedom for you and your pup.

Running leash for your dog

ADEQUATE RUNNING ROOM: Your dog can comfortably run in front of you, or beside you, without feeling like you are stepping on their heels. The 48" leash is long enough to provide plenty of room for both you and your dog - short enough to not get in your way.

EASILY CONTROL YOUR DOG: It's no fun having to stop right in the middle of an energetic run. Our TWO conveniently placed handles will allow you to control your pup WITHOUT BREAKING STRIDE. Quickly use the handle by your hip to guide your dog back on track, or the collar handle for more direct control.​

STRATEGICALLY PLACED BUNGEE: The durable bungee is placed between the two handles keeping the bungee from having a constant pulling tension on your dog when it is not needed - It allows for an absorbed extension (60") for strong pulling dogs.

REFLECTIVE THREAD & QUALITY MATERIAL: Designed with THREE seems of luminous reflective stitching that run the length of the leash and the 48" belt to ensure you stay safe and visible on your late evening runs. Tough, durable and weather resistant to hold up against even the most active of dogs.

100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE! In the unlikely event that you are unhappy with your purchase, send it back and we will refund you every penny

Running leash for dogs
Ruffwear Front Range Everyday Harness

Ruffwear gear is renowned for being super tough and durable. Secure design, strong stitching and comfortable for you and your dog.

This comfortable, everyday harness that is easy to fit and put on and has a customizable fit with four points of adjustment allowing for full range of motion. 

Best dog harness for large dogs

​It has a padded chest and belly panel for good load dispersion and comfortable, extended wear.

Two leash attachment points: aluminum V-ring on the dog's back and reinforced webbing on the dog's chest.

Comes in sizes from XXS - XL and multiple colours; Pink, Orange, Blue and Grey​.

See related blog article: Best harness for dogs that pull.

Leave a comment: