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This is the emotional moment when an extreme marathon runner is reunited with his stray dog.
Ultra-marathon runner Deon Leonard was on a gruelling 250 km run across mountains and desert in China and found that a stray dog had been running alongside him the whole time but then disappeared before he got chance to bring the dog home.
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So Leonard decided to go on an epic quest to track the dog down. He started handing out flyers and posting on social media. He caught the attention of audiences worldwide and also Chinese blog Weibo where the information spread by people wanting to help in the search.
— Finding Gobi (@findinggobi) August 23, 2016
In addition to launching a social media campaign, Leanord put posters up around the city. Volunteers helped him scour Urumqi. Leanord talked to anyone who might have seen the dog including gards, taxi drivers, cleaners and fruit vendors. Even the local television interviewed Leonard and the local residents were stopping him in the street to tell him they were on the lookout.
However, he began to lose hope after he hadn’t had a lead in five days because Urumqi is a massive city of 3 million people. He feared that the dog might have run into the countryside where the locals don’t speak any English, don’t use social media and were unlikely to have heard about the campaign. Then finally he received a call by a local Chinese man on Wednesday night who claimed that he had seen the dog at a local park.
“A local person had seen all the posters and the TV work and was walking his dog when he spotted Gobi and he called me.
“To be honest we’ve been down this track before with a couple of other dogs and we were quite uncertain it was actually her.”
When Leonard got there the dog immediately recognised him and started jumping on him and running around his legs. Social media quickly lit up when fans heard the good news
“I am crying in public I am so happy for you guys!”, said one Twitter user.
Thanks to everyone donating to help Find Gobi.
Amazing support & love for this wonder dog.
Appreciate it all ????https://t.co/pVyjJwzaYn
— Dion Leonard (@Oh_Yes_Please) August 19, 2016
Talking to the BBC, Leonard called it “love again at immediate sight. The short video below by the BBC, tells this emotional story:
Photo credit: 4 Deserts Race Series / Gobi March / Onni Cao