By Carrie Demer, Dog lover extraordinaire
Who loves dogs in this group? Well WOOT is taking a four-legged turn on this blog post so get ready for the feel-good story of the year.
My TRB (Trail Running Buddy) Tammy messaged me one day last year “Did you hear about this dog?” Tammy and I share a love of WOOT and four-legged friends so this story had us both at “small dog runs 77 miles in the Gobi Desert”. WHAT? How? This feisty little female pup decided to acquaint herself with ultra-marathoner Dion Leonard on the second day of the five day 4 Deserts ultra race and they have rarely been apart since. Well…there was that one snafu…stay with me.
For women who read this blog many have been to China (see Conquer the Wall post here http://www.womenoutontrails.com/blog/2016/8/5/interested-in-conquering-the-great-wall-of-china) and understand the pollution, frustrating language barriers, the total chaos of trying to figure out logistics of getting to a race, etc., this story also adds in trying to adopt a random dog to bring back to Scotland. It’s a great analogy to the thing that made this incredible to begin with; the ultra-marathon.
Dion decided to adopt this perfect little pup he named Gobi at the end of the race for all sorts of reasons.
He gives more clarity to this in the book which WILL make you cry as you read it so have tissues ready. Dion lives in Scotland and because of quarantine issues Gobi needed to stay in China a bit longer. During the stay something happened and she’s lost. I’m fast tracking all the details here but I am still shaking my head at all the things that managed to go right in order to get these two sweethearts back together.
So Dion flies back to China from Scotland, sets up a search party and for ten days walks around the city of Urumqi in China against impossible odds to find this little dog. With credit to a special US Marine (more reason to love this book) and incredible group of volunteers there Gobi is found! It’s the best day for millions of people watching this story unfold. Dion and Gobi write this wonderful book, get a movie deal and Gobi is happily running the hills of Scotland forever with her guy (and fellow woman out on trail runner Lucja, Dion's wife and incredibly accomplished trail runner).
So what is it about this story? Gobi’s cuteness and dedication? The perseverance on both Dion and Gobi to be together? Or the unbelievable odds of what is turning out to be the greatest love story of 2016/2017? (It was a long journey). For weeks I’ve been trying to figure out what is so special about this tail (pun intended). It has to be all of it. But when I heard a book was coming out I knew instead of running trails I would be reading about a wagging tail.
This story not only had my heart breaking apart and coming back together but has all the requirements of what makes us runners; perseverance, getting lost, being found, happy, sad, the need to stay with your tribe, the marathon that ends with you achieving your Gobi/goal. And lots and lots of food.
As trail runners most of us are lucky enough to have found fellow sisters in this group to run with but running with a dog is something else.
They are usually bound with energy and spinning around excitedly waiting for us to show them the way. Or guilting us to keep going further because they are having so much fun out there. When I run, admittedly I am hoping and praying there is someone else ready and willing to show me the way on a trail or quite honestly ready to stop and hangout, chat, maybe have a snack or two before we start up again, but our four legged friends never quit. This is a great trait to have in a dog and in a runner. We all need that support to keep us going. Gobi is that rock to Dion.
I hope you love this story as much as I do. Now I’m off to take my little guy for run. Not 77 miles but to him .077 is just great too.
Finding Gobi is a great read for you and the kids. Pick up a copy, grab a box of tissues and enjoy the journey of these two all stars.
Finding Gobi: Young Reader's Edition: The True Story of One Little Dog's Big Journey https://www.amazon.com/dp/0718075315/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_j4wqzbCVH3MZK
Fantastic video of the story
Dion and Gobi are on Twitter and Instagram @findinggobi and www.findinggobi.com
ADOPT DON’T SHOP