GOBI DESERT, China — Imagine running an extreme marathon race across a desert in China— when all of a sudden — a friendly little stray dog starts to follow you.
Well, that's exactly what happened to this runner Dion Leonard from Scotland.
"She was looking up in my eyes, and she just kept staring at me," Leonard said. "She kept looking up at me, and I'm looking down at her thinking this little dog isn't going to stay with me all day, surely, but that's exactly what she did."
Turns out the little pooch stuck with Leonard all across the Gobi Desert, over mountains, through scorching temperatures and until the end of the barren 155-mile race.
He named the little stray "Gobi" after the desert they both conquered together, and they won a second place finish together.
"It was an amazing experience to run into the finish line with her," Leonard said. "And my wife actually says to me 'it's the only time I've ever seen you smile at the end of a race.'"
Leonard realized something about "Gobi" that she had become his best friend. He decided to try to raise enough money to bring Gobi back to his home in Scotland.
He set up a 'Bring Gobi Home' crowdfunding page, and the dog became a social media star overnight. Leonard raised nearly $16,000.
Gobi has to spend up to four months in quarantine, but then she may get to come home for the holidays.
"Wouldn't that be an amazing Christmas present to actually have her here for then?" Leonard said.
It sure would. You go, Gobi.