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A Stray Dog Ran With An Ultramarathoner For 20 Miles And Now He's Being Adopted

And my heart is in a puddle, and I'm sorry, I just need to go home.

On day two of an intense, six-stage ultramarathon across China's longest-spanning desert, professional runner Dion Leonard noticed a tiny dog running alongside him.

4deserts.com / Onni Cao

The dog ran more than 20 miles with Leonard on this day of the race, which is also called the inaugural "Gobi March."

He noticed the pup after it started nipping at his gaiters (a garment runners wear around their ankles). Leonard said he recognized the dog 'cause the little fella was hanging out at their camp the night before.

4deserts.com / Onni Cao

"Once we had begun the stage [the dog] seemed to like the bright yellow colour of my gaiters and proceeded to run next to me,” said Leonard to the 4 Deserts marathon website.

Apparently the homeless dog ran with Leonard all the way back to his tent at the camp base, and laid down next to him.

4deserts.com

"And that was that — a bond had been developed," he said.

The dog, who was then named "Gobi" in honour of the race, hung out at the camp for the rest of the marathon. Other fellow runners would ration their food to help feed Gobi.

4deserts.com / Onni Cao

Richard Henson, a fellow participant who shared a tent with Leonard, said Gobi "was the best dog you could imagine — no barking, no biting, no chewing on things, no rooting through bags or stealing socks."

Gobi quickly became the star of the athletic event. And Leonard, who's from Australia but resides in the UK, formed an unbreakable tie with him that inspired him to think about adoption.

4deserts.com / Onni Cao

He's since started a crowdfunder to help bring Gobi home with him to the UK. It's already reached the goal, and beyond.

crowdfunder.co.uk

Getting an adopted dog cleared for entrance in the UK can be a pretty pricy process with mandated vaccinations, medical checks, and a four-month quarantine.

Leonard has already started the process of adoption, and in the interim, he's left Gobi with a friend in China.

crowdfunder.co.uk

We've reached out to Leonard and we'll update to you guys as soon as we learn the latest of Gobi's adoption journey.

On the last day of the ultramarathon, Gobi and Leonard finished the race together.

4deserts.com / Onni Cao

“I didn’t [adopt her], Gobi seemed to adopt me!” Leonard said.

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