Where would we be without our faithful, furry companions? In addition to the love and courage they bring to our everyday lives, animals can also be a source of tremendous inspiration. In China this month, one remarkable stray dog earned the cheers of thousands when it completed an amazing test of endurance, speed and strength.
The scrappy little canine, called Xiao Sa, ran nearly 2000 kilometers in a cross-country bicycle race lasting 24 days. Bow-WOW!
Xiao Sa joined the cyclists in Sichuan province after Zhang Heng, 22, offered her some food during a pit stop.
“She was lying, tired, on the street,” Zhang told reporters, according to website DogHeirs.com. “So we fed her, and then she followed our team.”
Once Zhang and his friends realized Xiao Sa wouldn’t quit, they embraced her as a race mascot. Zhang also began microblogging about Xiao Sa’s determination. When some of the human racers needed a break from the road, Xiao Sa kept on running. They estimate that she ran between 50 and 60 km each day.
“Many people stopped cycling in some sections, then took the bus, but the dog made it,” said Zhang. “[Her] perseverance moved us a lot.”
Exceptions were made whenever the route got too steep or dangerous. Zhang strapped a special carrier to the back of his bicycle and made Xiao Sa hitch a ride whenever conditions became unsafe for paws.
Xiao Sa’s inspirational story soon spread across China and the world, attracting 40,000 Weibo followers and even earning the remarkable stray a spot on Chinese television.
Now that the race is over, Zhang hopes to adopt Xiao Sa. “I would like to take the dog home and take care of her,” he said, calling Xiao Sa his buddy and friend. “She has been a stray on the road for a long time. She needs a home.”
Image captured from YouTube video