She named the pup 'Chombeung,' after the marathon where she was found.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 8, 2022. It has since been updated.
Puppies can make anyone stop and turn around for a second look. But there aren't too many people who would actually care for the well-being of an abandoned animal on the street. When 43-year-old Khemjira Klongsanun was running a marathon in 2019 she saw an injured puppy lying on the side of the road. “It seemed to me that this little guy was lost. There were no houses, no other dogs, or no people around," she told The Daily Mail. But her fellow runners just ran past the fearful little Thai Bangkaew breed dog. Khemjira, on the other hand, stopped, lifted the puppy and then carried the cute animal along with her to the finish line, 19 miles away.
Khemjira Klongsanun was running a marathon in Thailand when she saw an abandoned puppy on the road. Other runners didn't care.— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) January 31, 2019
She bent down, picked him up, and carried him. The whole race. All 19 miles. At the end, he fell asleep on her kit.
Then she adopted him. pic.twitter.com/GDdtOrsdOM
Khemjira was running the Chombeung marathon in Ratchaburi, Thailand, according to Good News Network. She didn't feel like it would be OK to just let the little one be alone. "So, I picked up the puppy, if only to take him out of the unsafe environment,” said Khemjira. She said it was tough to carry the pup across to the finish line while running a marathon. “Running almost 20 miles carrying a dog was truly a challenge. It was two times more tiring than a normal marathon, but I did it anyway just because he is adorable,” she said. She made every effort after the marathon to try to locate the dog's owner but when she couldn't find them, she decided to keep her and started taking her to the vet.
"It took a lot of time to take the new dog for checkups, vaccinations, and treatments but I'm glad to save him and willing to have him with other dog members in the family," she said.
“Chombeung is about 8 months now and weighed in at 18 kilograms during her last veterinarian visit. She’s lived with us for six months now, and though I can’t be sure, I think she was about 2 months old when I found her,” Khemjira told Coconuts Bangkok in July 2019. Khemjira expressed that although it "might take a while for him to adapt himself," she feels hopeful, adding that "Chombueng is a very smart boy" and she feels sure that "he is going to be happy living with us."
Khemjira frequently engages in rescuing animals and is very passionate about providing shelter to stray animals. She has added a total of 12 more pets to her enormous furry family, which includes 28 dogs and 30 cats. Some of the animals, she says, have also been given to her by owners who feel they might no longer be able to care for them. Currently, she is putting money aside for a dream project of building a rescue home dedicated to her furry children on a roughly 3-hectare piece of property in Chonburi's Phan Thong area. She also wants to establish a fund to aid stray dogs injured by vehicles.