Shelly Mamott, Staff Writer
A stray dog, nicknamed Xiao Sa, has become an internet sensation after following the man who fed her while on a grueling 24 day, 1700 kilometer cross-country bike race across China.
Xiao Sa’s incredible journey started when one of the cyclists, Zhang Heng, 22, competing in a multi-day mountain bike race, happened upon the small, stray dog in Sichuan province. Feeling for the hungry animal, he offered her some food.
That small act of kindness had a profound effect on the dog. From that moment on the little stray would not let Zhang Heng out of her sight. When the race resumed, the determined little dog joined the cyclists and ran beside them.
Mr Heng, a student in Wuhan, Hubei province, had decided to cycle to Llasa as a graduation trip with friends, “She was lying, tired, on the street around Yajiang, Sichuan province,” he told China Daily. “So we fed her, and then she followed our team.”
Not only did the dog join in the race but ran the remainder of it. Astonishingly keeping pace with the cyclists for 24 days, over 1,100 miles, covering 50 to 60 kilometers every day, and climbing over 10 mountains without ever falling behind. The team fixed a small basket on a bike for Xiao Sa to carry her when she became tired and wanted to rest. However, most of the time, she insisted on running.
“Many people stopped cycling in some sections, then took the bus, but the dog made it,” Mr Heng added. Xiao Sa, was still going strong despite days she spent running. She crossed the finish line with other cyclists to applause from throngs of admirers.
After 24 days running with the man who had touched her, the once unwanted dog won him over. Moved by her loyalty and determination, Zhang Heng said he would take Xiao Sa back to his hometown and adopt her.
“I would like to take the dog home and take care of her,” he said. “She has been a stray on the road for a long time. She needs a home.”