A stray dog showed incredible loyalty, willpower and endurance, after she ran an extraordinary 1833 kilometers (1,056 miles) between China and Tibet. The small dog followed a team of cross-country cyclists after they fed her. She ran with them for 24 days, traveling from Kangding Sichuan province in China, to Lhasa in Tibet.
After they reached their destination, one of the cyclists decided to adopt the dog.
Zhang Heng, 22, told the China Daily he took up the grueling, mountainous bike race as a graduation trip to see if he could make it.
When he made a stop in Sichuan province, a small, hungry white dog approached him. "She was lying, tired, on the street," Zhang said. "So we fed her, and then she followed our team."
The little dog stayed by his team’s side night and day. At first they thought she was simply following them for the adventure. Then, Zhang said, "We felt she might want to come along with us, so we decided to bring her along to the end."
The team decided to name the dog Xiao Sa (a combination of "little" and the second syllable of Lhasa.)
The team fixed a small basket on a bike for Little Sa to carry her when she became tired and wanted to rest. However, most of the time, she insisted on running. Little Sa could run 50 to 60 kilometers a day. Cyclist Wang Zi remarked, "...She ran all the time, making me feel that she never feels tired."
As the race progressed, the number of cyclists dropped from 300 to six. Little Sa encouraged all of the remaining riders every day, as they climbed 10 grueling mountains, each higher than 4,000 meters.
"Many people stopped cycling in some sections, then took the bus, but the dog made it," Zang said. When biking downhill, Zhang put Little Sa on the back of his bike to protect her from the speeding bikes.
Little Sa would sometimes stop at milestones along the road, waiting for cyclists to catch up. When Zhang fell behind, she would put her paws on him to encourage him to keep going.
One cyclist said, "She's very smart and knows the route, because she never got lost even when we passed through mountains."
When they finally reached their destination, Zhang said he saw Little Sa as "a buddy and a friend".
"Little Sa's perseverance moved us a lot. With her encouragement we finally reached the Potala Palace." Zhang said. "I would like to take the dog home and take care of her. She has been a stray on the road for a long time. She needs a home."