A stray dog, now known as Xiao Sa, followed a team of cyclists for 24 days, following their 1,833-km route from Kangding, Sichuan province, China, to Lhasa, Tibet.
No one knows where the small white dog came from. Xiao Sa quickly became an Internet sensation after one cyclist launched the microblog Go Go Xiao Sa to chronicle the long journey.
"She was lying, tired, on the street around Yajiang, Sichuan province," cyclist Zhang Heng, 22, told China Daily. "So we fed her, and then she followed our team.
The cyclists quickly embraced the dog as their race mascot with Xiao Sa following along their route, running on dirt roads and climbing 12 mountains.
"Many people stopped cycling in some sections, then took the bus, but the dog made it," Zhang said, calling the stray canine a "buddy and a friend."
"She followed us for three days, running behind our team but sometimes leading us. She's very smart and knows the route, because she never got lost even when we passed through mountains," said Wang Penghao, 24, another cyclist on the route. Penghao had heard about the dog and was told to feed and care for Xiao Sa if he encountered the determined dog.
Zhang spent 20 days on the road with the dog — and hopes to adopt the pup:
"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."
One cyclist took the dog for a checkup, to ensure the long race didn't take a toll on her health.
"Everything is fine with her, including her nose, teeth. She's not affected by altitude sickness," the vet, Yang Bo, told CNTV English.