'Little Sa' winds her way up to Lhasa

Updated: 2012-05-26 08:07

By Zheng Jinran in Beijing and Daqiong in Lhasa (China Daily)

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Call her a canine with a dogged determination to keep running, wherever the road may lead.

The homeless dog, known as Xiao Sa, has been following a team of cyclists for 24 days along 1,833 kilometers of highway from Kangding, Sichuan province, to Lhasa in Tibet.

'Little Sa' winds her way up to Lhasa


A dog nicknamed Xiao Sa has become a Web celebrity after she ran more than 1,800 kilometers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Provided to China Daily 

Nobody knows where the white dog came from or how long she has been straying on highway G318.

Netizens call her the "dog with determination" and the micro blog "Go Go Xiao Sa" recording her life has attracted more than 37,000 followers in two weeks.

A picture of Xiao Sa in the arms of a young man in front of the Potala Palace on Thursday night drew more than 4,000 comments congratulating the small dog and expressing dreams of going to Lhasa.

The young man in the picture is Zhang Heng, 22, a student in Wuhan, Hubei province. As his graduation trip, he decided to face the challenge of riding to Lhasa alone.

On the way he met a lonely dog.

"She was lying, tired, on the street around Yajiang, Sichuan province," he said. "So we fed her, and then she followed our team.

They thought she was following for fun, but found she insisted on sticking around them day and night.

"We felt she might want to come along with us, so we decided to bring her along to the end."

A week later, Zhang and his buddies opened a micro blog account for her.

"We thought the dog was encouraging us, and wanted others to know its story," he said.

They created the name Xiao Sa by combining xiao meaning "little" with the last syllable of Lhasa.

During their journey, Xiao Sa, Zhang and his team covered more than 1,700 kilometers and climbed 10 mountains higher than 4,000 meters.

Xiao Sa just ran up the mountains or along dirt roads.

"Many people stopped cycling in some sections, then took the bus, but the dog made it," he said.

Zhang put the dog on the back of the bike when the team was riding downhill.

"The speed can reach 70 kilometers per hour, impossible for the dog to catch us."

Many other people cycling this road had learned of the dog.

"I've heard about her from other friends who rode to Lhasa on the road before I met her," said Wang Penghao, 24, from Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan province. "They told me to take care of her if I saw her, and give her some food and water like they did."

"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."

After following Wang, the dog lagged behind and met another cyclist, Wang Zi, on May 4.

"She may be the first dog who ran to Lhasa along this route," said Wang Zi, who was followed by the dog one day.

"I have a special feeling about her, especially when I found she was never lost, waited for us at milestones on the road, and ran all the time, making me feel that she never feels tired," he said.

Wang Zi will continue to the foot of Qomolangma, known as Mount Everest in the West, after he arrives in Lhasa.

"If possible, I would like to take the dog with me, taking her to see a more splendid scene."

Zhang Heng, who accompanied Xiao Sa for 20 days, called her "a buddy and a friend".

"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."

Contact the writers at zhengjinran@chinadaily.com.cn and daqiong@chinadaily.com.cn