Friday, June 15, 2012


Back at the beginning of May, a group of Chinese cyclists started on a long trip through the mountains from Chengu, which is the capital of Sichuan province, to Lhasa, which is the capital of Tibet.  On May 4, they saw a little white dog, and they gave her a chicken leg to eat.  Right away, the dog decided she had been invited to come on their trip, so she ran along with them for the next 1,100 miles until they reached their destination in Lhasa.

At first, the cyclists thought the little dog just wanted food, but later they decided she really liked traveling with them.  "We were shocked by her perseverance," one of the cyclists told the TV news.  This man's name is Xiao Yong, and he is a 22-year-old college student.  He ended up adopting the little dog at the end of the trip.  The name the travelers gave to the dog was Xiao Sa.  Xiao means "little" in Mandarin, and Sa was just the last part of Lhasa.

In this map, you can see the city of Chengdu, which is sort of in the lower middle part of China.  Then if you follow the line to the left, you will see Lhasa, which is pretty far away, especially if you are riding a bicycle.

There were lots of mountains to cross on the way to Lhasa, like 12, to be exact.  Some of these mountains were more than 13,000 feet tall.  When you get up that high, it is hard to breathe, and you can get headaches and start throwing up.  This is called altitude sickness.  If you are used to the altitude, you don't get sick.  Maybe Xiao Sa was used to being so high up where the air is thin, because it didn't seem to bother her to run up and down mountains.

"She once ran 37 miles in one day, going uphill," Xiao Yong said.  "We were very impressed by Xiao Sa's persistence, that inspired us all the way till our destination."  Another cyclist named Lu Bo said, "Once a few of our team members lagged behind, she ran from hill top [back] to the bottom, to bring these guys to the rest of the team.  She injected power into us."

After a while, the men made a sort of cage for the little dog, and they tied it on the back of Xiao Yong's bicycle.  Then when Xiao Sa was tired, or when they were going downhill really fast, she could ride in the cage.  It took 24 days to make the whole trip.  At night, Xiao Sa usually slept on the cyclists' raincoats, but sometimes she snuggled up to Mr. Xiao to keep warm.  She got to eat some of the same food the cyclists had, which was yummy stuff like custard tarts, boiled eggs, and sausages.

Sometimes in villages, other dogs came out and tried to attack Xiao Sa, but Xiao Yong picked her up and carried her on his bicycle and kept her safe.  When the group arrived in Lhasa, Xiao Sa got a checkup from a veterinarian, and he said that she was just fine.

By this time, Mr. Xiao had started a blog about his little white dog, so she became famous with lots of Chinese internet users.  Her fans called her "Forrest Gump" because she had a simple-minded stamina that got her through the trip.  They were excited when they saw a picture of her in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa.

The cyclists did not ride their bikes back home.  Instead, they flew in an airplane, and Xiao Sa also got to fly back home to Sichuan Province.  Later on, Mr. Xiao learned that his little dog had followed other cyclists before, but she did not go on such a long trip as she did with his group.  And she did not bond with the other people the way she did with Xiao Yong.

So that is the end of this very nice story.  I think that any dog who runs up and down 12 mountains on such short little legs deserves a really, really good home with lots of dumplings to eat and a warm, cozy place to take lots of naps.  And I'm glad that's exactly what Xiao Sa got!


  1. This is a great story! Do you have contact info for Mr. Xiao?

    1. No, I'm sorry to say that I do not. But I'm glad you liked the story!