A homeless dog known as Xiao Sa, has been following a team of Chinese cyclists for 24 days, along 1,700 kilometres of highway from Kangding, Sichuan province, to Lhasa in Tibet.

Zhang Heng, 22, a student in Wuhan, Hubei province 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. We thought the dog was encouraging us,” 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 kilometres 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 kilometres per hour, impossible for the dog to catch us.”

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.”

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