• By: Isabel Payne

Finding Gobi: A Little Dog’s Big Journey to Find a Family

Images from Finding Gobi.

I once heard a saying from the woman who volunteers with a local dog rescue that “you don’t choose the dog, the dog chooses you”. Whether it be a goofy smile through the cage door in a shelter, or a quick kiss on a hand during a meet and greet with a potential forever family, most dogs have a funny way of knowing who they want as their family. This was definitely the case for ultra-marathoner Dion Leonard, who found himself running a week-long marathon with an unlikely partner, for at the start of the race he noticed a small scrappy-looking dog racing behind him. The story that unfolded over the duration of the marathon would change both of their lives for the better.

Finding Gobi is the heartwarming tale of how a little dog’s choice changed the world for both her and Dion. The stray, named Gobi after the desert in which she was found, accompanied Dion for 105 of the race’s 155 miles, and even ran with him for 77 miles, which was no little feat considering her size. It is unknown how she found herself in the desert in the first place, or how long she survived the grueling heat and lack of resources, however despite her past, Gobi had nothing but love to give to those around her. Over the next few days, Dion found himself risking his chances at winning the race in order to make sure him and Gobi stuck together. He would help carry Gobi through rivers that she couldn’t swim, and when it got too hot, he arranged special transport for her to keep her safe. Dion shared his food and water with Gobi, and even let her sleep in tent with him at night, and soon enough, an unbreakable bond was formed between them. Dion knew he couldn’t leave China without Gobi, and set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of bringing her home.

After Gobi found Dion, it would soon be Dion looking for Gobi. Before Dion could take her home with him to Edinburgh, Gobi went missing in Urumqi, a Chinese city with a population of more than 3 million people. Dion flew back to China and with the help of numerous volunteers and an international community rallying behind them, they managed to find Gobi ten days later. Not wanting to leave this little dog again, Dion took a six month unpaid sabbatical to stay with her throughout her quarantine, and together they made the long journey home. 

Finding Gobi is a heart-warming story that illustrates the unbreakable bond between a man and a little dog who find each other in the unlikeliest of situations and work against all odds to stay together. Their story, which made headlines all over the world, is living proof of what you can accomplish with the power of love and a little courage, no matter where you come from or what your past is. You can read about this incredible journey in the international bestselling book Finding Gobi: A Little Dog With a Very Big Heart, which was released back in June. Just be sure to prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions! Parents will be able to share this true story with their young ones next week, as two new editions of the book will be available for young readers on August 29th, 2017. One edition, titled Gobi: A Little Dog With a Big Heart, will be aimed at younger readers aged 4-8, and features adorable illustrations by Lisa Manuzak. The short story follows Gobi as she wanders the desert looking for home before meeting Dion at the start of a race. The young reader's edition, titled Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey, is targeted specifically at ages 8-12 years. All three are important lessons in the importance of accepting others no mater what their past is, as well as how an adopted pet can change the world for everyone. 


Each edition can be found online via Chapters, Amazon, or from the official Finding Gobi website. Loved the story and want to learn more about Gobi's new life? You can follow Dion and Gobi’s adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.