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FindingGobi_CVR (2)Readers looking to put a little pep in their step should keep their eye out for a canine’s take on inspiration. Finding Gobi is a memoir written by Dion Leonard about his seriously unconventional way of meeting his new loyal and furry best friend. The book was just recently published and the author is in the middle of conducting a book tour in the US and in the United Kingdom.

Dion Leonard is an Australian-native living in the Edinburgh, Scotland with his wife, Lucja. Leonard is a 42-year-old, seasoned ultramarathon runner. An ultramarathon is a 155 mile, 6 stage race that spans over 7 days.  The race is completely self-sufficient, which means that all food and other necessities that’s needed for the race must be carried by the runner. The only thing that is provided by the organizers is water.

Leonard and Gobi first came into contact at the end of day one. Leonard claimed that Gobi was going around to the other runners trying to get food from them but she was not getting anything from him.  They officially met on day two when she was right next to him at the starting line and trailed behind him for the race. Gobi ran a total of four stages of the race; she competed on days one, two, three and six. In total, Gobi ran a total of 77 miles. For stages four and five she wasn’t able to participate due to extreme heat and terrain conditions, she was transported to that stages stopping point by officials, where she would wait at the finish line for Leonard.

Deon Leonard said that his demeanor changed throughout the race because of Gobi.  Before meeting her, he claimed to be solely focused on the race, competing well, and hopefully winning.   After meeting her, he just wanted her to be healthy and right there beside him.  Their bond grew each day and eventually Leonard made that decision that he was taking her home with him after it was over.

On Aug. 15, 2016 Gobi was scheduled to travel to Beijing to go through quarantine before heading to her forever home with Dion and Lucja Leonard.  That day she seemed to have wondered out of an open door into the city of Urumqi that is home to around 3 million people. In all efforts to find Gobi, Leonard traveled back to China and launched a social media campaign.  He also infested the city with posters with her picture on them. The efforts that were put forth by random strangers that just wanted to help Dion were remarkable. He knew the odds weren’t in his favor but he still felt he needed to try. “I needed to come and do it, just to be sure in my own mind I had done it,” Leonard said in an interview with BBC Radio Five Live. His worst fear was that she had ran off to the countryside that surrounded the city where the natives may have not even known about the extensive search that was taking place.

One evening Dion Leonard had received a cryptic phone call from one man claiming that he and his son had seen a similar looking dog to Gobi in a park while walking their own dog.  The man on the phone had really seemed to think that he had found the true Gobi.  Leonard was a little unsure just because he had already had a few leads that were duds and the pictures that the man had sent weren’t of the best quality.

When Leonard walked into the room Gobi instantly recognized him and was overjoyed.  She was jumping all over him and crying.  The two were officially reunited on Aug. 24th, 2016. Before going home officially with Leonard she still had to go through the 90 days of quarantine in Beijing. Gobi made it to Edinburgh in January 2017.

The entire story of Gobi and Dion is almost unbelievable. From the extremely long trek across desert, to Gobi being lost in huge city crowded with people, starting a social media campaign that raised 38,000 pounds to get Gobi to Leonard’s home plus an additional 9,300 pounds to back the initial search, and that Gobi was found and returned, no wonder thing are heading fast for this story to be made into a movie.  The story is something that should be shared. In August, 2017 the children’s book and young adult book are set to be released to appeal specifically to the younger audiences.  The original book is already on sale and is getting incredible reviews. There is even some talk on a movie possibly being made by Twentieth Century Fox but that idea is still in the very premature stages. Fingers crossed that everything will end up working out for that but until then the book does the trick of depicting the bond of man and companion.

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