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Finding Gobi (Main edition): The true story of a little dog and an incredible journey Hardcover – 1 Jun 2017
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About the Author
Dion Leonard is a 41 year old Australian who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dion has not only completed but competed in some of the worlds toughest ultra-marathons across the worlds inhospitable landscapes including running across the brutal Moroccan Sahara desert twice in the 250km Marathon Des Sables and also twice across South Africa's Kalahari Desert 250km. Dion's latest 250km race across the Gobi Desert in China turned out to be a completely different race where he fell in love with a stray dog (later named Gobi) that followed him during the week and this would change both of their lives forever.
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Upon hearing that there would be a book written about this story, I was a bit skeptical, thinking what more could be told than what I already knew about Dion and Gobi? (and an obsessive like me thought that I knew a lot!). It must have been hard for Dion Leonard, previously a bit of a private person I'm sure, open up about his difficult childhood and what gave him the drive and determination to take up such a demanding sport as ultra marathon running at a relatively late stage in life. The story jumps right in with the race in China and it was wonderful to read Dion's observations of this little scruffy "it" (not even knowing she was a "she") appearing out of nowhere and sticking to him like glue. The point where the bond was formed is described as when Dion had to carry Gobi across a river and from then on she was always the most comfortable and "safe" in his arms. He promised to bring her home to Scotland, after all, "She had given everything she had to keep up with me. How could I leave her behind when I finished the race?". What an ordeal that would turn out to be, and that is where the story most interestingly diverts from what I had known from social media and the news. I don't want to give away any details, but to read about the lengths that Dion, not to mention his wife back home and an army of volunteers in China, took to make sure Gobi was safe and healthy was just incredible. All while Dion sacrificed months of his time away from his family and home.
A very well-written, excellent page turner for anyone who is interested in extreme sports and of course adorable animals. Dion will be donating proceeds to promoting Adopt Don't Shop and animal rescues. There were a few questions that remained, however, such as where exactly did Gobi come from? Why did she "choose" Dion? We don't know, but we do find out what an incredibly special dog she is, and whose story will encourage everyone to "find their own Gobi".
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.
But first let me tell you how I came upon the story. If you remember (but wouldn’t we all like to forget), last year it seemed the dominating stories in the news consisted of one dismal election after another. Outrage, brutality, terrorism and disappointments brimmed over in the social and political landscapes of the world. It seemed that collective human consciousness had detoured back to 1816 rather than 2016. Where was the human heart in the vulgarity on full display? By chance I came upon a story last summer that was being shared on Facebook. I knew nothing of the world of ultra-marathon running but I loved dog stories and here those worlds collided. Dion Leonard, an ultra-marathon runner, originally from Australia but living in Scotland, had traveled to participate in the Gobi Desert ultra-marathon. On the 2nd day of the race, a little stray dog started following him. She followed him for 25 miles that day. Then the next day she followed him for another 25 miles. The dog was astonishing and she attached herself to him even though there were many other runners in the race. Dion named her Gobi and decided that after her herculean feats for such a small dog, he wanted to bring her home to Edinburgh. The challenge was all of the red tape involved. I began following the story at this point where they had completed the race and since Dion had to return to his job and life in Scotland, he made arrangements to have Gobi stay with some people in Urumqui who would look after her until she could go through the hoops of tests, quarantine and logistics to get sent to Scotland. Dion returned to Scotland and the social media fanbase for this story was increasing with people touched by the amazing story of how this little dog had run this race and had found her soon-to-be forever home. And then she got lost. Gobi went missing in Urumqui. OMG. I remember reading about this on FB. I remember my heart sank. From Scotland, Dion went into action to harness help in launching a search for her in a city of several million people. He took a leave of absence from work and flew back to China to join in the search effort himself. He had the help of a group of wonderful people and miraculously, Gobi was found!
I’m not going to spoil the story and tell you any more details. I was honored to be chosen to be part of the Book Launch team and received the manuscript in advance of publication. What I will tell you is that this is much more than a dog-meets-man story. I was truly blown away by the depth of the details revealed in the book and can honestly attest to this being an inspiring story of healing, resilience and beating the odds. Dion Leonard and his amazing wife Lucja are an inspiration. Gobi is a force of nature and her story and how she has touched so many people around the world is deservedly a story that is now captured in this gripping and moving book and soon-to-be film.
Sometimes when I’m at my aqua-gym class doing sprints in the pool and I just can’t do another set, I think of Dion running through the heat of the desert, I think of Gobi running behind him, 25 miles a day… and I know that I can do another set too.
After reading a while ago about this little dog I was so pleased to see a book - and it won’t disappoint- I’ve read in one sitting and it’s just so lovely. Descriptive, emotional, heart wrenching and thought provoking.
Well done Dion for your kind heart and Lucja for her unwavering wifey support ... and Lara (cat) for being so accepting.
Can we have a film next - although I’m sure I’ll need tissues.
I’m also impressed with your employers... they sound amazing ...
soul mate, soul (sole) mutt, gracious cat and understanding work.
What a journey and time out to smell coffee!
Loved it and taking home (I usually leave books for other guests) but I want my mum to read it and then I want to keep on my positive book shelf.
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