This Dog Ran An Ultramarathon—And Found A New Home

by Kimberly B. Johnson

In anticipation of Z Living's upcoming original show Finding Fido, where underwater dog photographer (yes, that's right) and behaviorist Seth Casteel hosts plays matchmaker each week between a person and a pooch, we're collecting and telling a series of heart-warming pet stories. Follow along and check back often; we'll have plenty to share!

Z Living's upcoming show Finding Fido is all about pairing up people with pups, but sometimes, strange circumstances bring a person and a dog together in a way that can only be considered as meant to be. Like the unlikely story of a small, scrappy, cream-and-apricot dog named Gobi. This June, the pooch mysteriously found her way to Northern China’s vast Gobi Desert at the starting line of the annual Gobi Marcha 155-mile ultramarathon.

Also on Z Living: How a Stray Argentinian Dog Charmed His Way Across the World

Gobi ran approximately 105 miles

As the run began, Dion Leonard—a long distance runner from Scotland—spotted the dog running alongside himself and a group of Americans, somehow keeping stride for miles on end. Amongst a sea of runners, over the course of the seven-day race, the dog continuously found Leonard and ran alongside him. 

At some points, the dog—who Leonard appropriately dubbed "Gobi"—would move ahead, encouraging the runners to go faster. At other points, Leonard picked up Gobi and carry her through difficult terrains like rivers. 

Also on Z Living: Get Ready for 'Finding Fido'

In all, Leonard believes Gobi accompanied him for about 105 miles of the marathon, sitting out the final two stages due to grueling 125 degree heat. In the spirit of this new bond, race organizers graciously drove Gobi to the finish lines on those last days, where she faithfully waited for Leonard, who finished second in the race.

Leonard and Gobi both received medals

Following the race, the runner couldn’t just leave his new best friend behind in China. He joined forces with his wife and created a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign to raise the necessary funds to bring Gobi home with him to the UK—the ultimate happily-ever-after.

Want to help Gobi and Dion Leonard reunite?

The campaign to bring Gobi home is fully funded, but you can still contribute—extra money not used for Gobi's transportation to the UK will be donated to shelters. According to the campaign, Gobi and Leonard are expected to be reunited by Christmas.

Watch on Z Living: Finding Fido, where photographer and behaviorist Seth Casteel hosts plays matchmaker each week between a person and a pooch.

When can you watch it?! 

Stay tuned, ​Finding Fido premieres on Z Living this fall (we know, we know, we're eager to watch too!) In the meantime, we'll be sharing plenty of behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, and yes, adorable dog pics from the set of Fido to keep you in the loop. Follow along and check back often

Check out the newest shows on Z Living. And if you see one of our kiosks, snap a pic and send us a note in the comments below. 

Image credit: @bringgobihome

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