The newest Chinese hero is a small, stray dog nicknamed Xiao Sa, who followed a group of cross-country cyclists for 24 days. She ran more than 1700 kilometers, 50-60 kilometers a day, and climbed 10 mountains higher than 4,000 meters.
The team raced across Sichuan province and on to the finish line in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. The big-hearted little dog stayed with them the whole way. The only time she rode on one of the bicycles was on steep downhills, where she would have been in danger among the speeding cyclists.
Now that’s gratitude. She began following the cyclists when 22-year-old Zhang Heng offered the hungry pooch some food. From then on, she stuck with the team, in spite of a grueling pace that didn’t slow for her. They gave her the name Xiao Sa, combining the word for little with the last syllable of their destination.
At the end of the race, Zhang Heng, the racer who first noticed the little dog, rewarded Xiao Sa for her big heart. He gave her a new home.