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Dion and Gobi: Finding a forever home in Edinburgh

In our latest blog, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home Animal Champion Dion Leonard shares his experiences of rehoming Gobi and bringing her back to Edinburgh all the way from China. Even though Gobi has found fame around the world, she still experienced a lot of the same issues in settling into a new home as other rescue dogs.

In June 2016, I was competing in a 155-mile race across the Chinese Gobi Desert when a little stray dog would start to run alongside me. This little dog, who I named Gobi would run 77 miles and we would form an unbreakable bond. During the week-long race, I made Gobi a promise that I was going to bring her to my home in Edinburgh and this decision would change both of our lives forever. Our bond however was tested when Gobi went missing in China and I would fly back and set up a nationwide search to find her with the story going viral around the world and people supporting and donating money to help me ‘Bring Gobi Home’.

After finding Gobi I spent another 4 months living in China completing the quarantine process with her and asking myself, was I ready to have a dog in my life again, what would my wife think, how would Gobi, a stray desert dog, settle into Edinburgh city life and most importantly how would she get on with my Ragdoll cat?

Dion and Gobi's First Run in Edinburgh

As we drove into the outskirts of Edinburgh on the 2nd January 2017, I saw Arthurs Seat and I finally realised the promise I made Gobi 6 months earlier had been kept and I had achieved my goal of giving Gobi a better life. It was time for the next chapter in Gobi’s life.

In Beijing I’d faced language barriers, culture shock, homesickness and even on returning home I felt a reverse culture shock so how was a little stray dog going to handle such a big transition? On walking into our apartment Gobi made herself right at home on the couch although there was a surprise in store as I introduced her to her new sister, Lara the cat. This had been a big moment for us all and we waited in trepidation as they sniffed and eyed each other up and down. 4 hours later they were asleep on the bed together.

The Leonard Family's First Chinese New Year in Edinburgh

From the moment I first met Gobi she’s been resilient, determined and handled everything that’s come her way. Gobi’s not perfect, she’s soiled the carpet because I didn’t realise it was time for her to go outside, she’s chewed a part of my table because I left her at home, she still thinks every meal is her last and eats everything in sight if she gets the chance but I’ve shown her patience, love and support to settle her into home life, one that neither of us would ever change. Gobi is now living the dream in her forever home, receiving lots of attention, chasing squirrels and enjoying the trails of Arthurs Seat.

We are proud to be an ambassador for EDCH and to help other stray & rescue dogs who deserve a life just like Gobi. As I say in our book; Finding Gobi, Finding Gobi was one of the hardest things I’ve done but her finding me was one of the best.

Dion and Gobi Arriving in Scotland

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @findinggobi


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