Rescue Dog Inspires Man To Run Ultramarathon In Sahara Desert
A rescue dog inspired her owner to run an ultramarathon in the Sahara Desert to raise money for the Bristol shelter that rescued her.
Owner Henry adopted German Shepherd Zara from Bristol Animal Rescue Center in hopes of finding joy after the death of his former dog.
He didn’t expect Zara to inspire him to run six marathons in seven days across Morocco.
In March, Henry will be taking part in the Marathon de Sables and fundraising for Bristol Animal Rescue Centre, as a small way of thanking the team for bringing Zara into his life.
“The world would be very different without Zara, so we’re very grateful,” Henry said.
Henry Wellesley and his family adopted German Shepherd Zara after their previous German Shepherd passed away.
“We decided to visit Bristol Animal Rescue Center to distract ourselves from our grief,” Henry said.
“I honestly had no intention of adopting another dog at the time as I was still raw about the loss, but once we met her we knew we had to give her a home.”
Stray dog Zara was a little nervous about having visitors and found it hard to trust her new family at the very beginning.
“She was very lively doing figures of eight around the garden for 40 minutes. She would also flinch when we went to pet her,” Henry explained.
In the first week, Zara ate five tracks and kept trying to break free – but quickly settled down and found solace with her owners.
Henry describes Zara as “cheeky”, “very loving” and “the perfect pet” at home.
“She basically thinks she’s human and so makes herself comfortable on our bed and sofas,” he added.
Besides bringing joy to Henry’s family home, Zara has helped improve his mental well-being.
She encourages him to get outdoors and take daily walks, cheerfully greets him at the front door, and helps clear up arguments.
Speaking of life without the German Shepherd, he said: “Life would lose that simple joy, which we get from Zara when we chase her around the table or fight with her.”
Zara’s adoption also inspired Henry to take part in the Marathon de Sables this year and raise money for Bristol Animal Rescue Centre.
It will involve running six marathons in seven days through the Sahara desert in Morocco, where temperatures can reach 50 degrees.
Runners must carry all their food and clothing for the duration of the challenge.
“I’m not a natural runner,” Henry said. “I don’t like camping in a tent and I’m not a big fan of sand.”
Training has been a ‘challenge’ for Henry due to multiple injuries, but ‘fortunately everything is on track with 10 weeks to go’.
Henry told the charity: ‘I wanted to raise money for the Bristol Animal Rescue Center as a little way to say thank you for saving and caring for Zara, and bringing her into our lives.
“The world would be very different without Zara, so we’re very grateful and want to pass on our luck to other animals who may still be looking for homes.”