photo by Zachary Acreman (Flickr CC)

Most of us have had the experience of being followed by a friendly stray or loose dog for a while during a walk or jog. Usually the sociable canine will tag along for a while and then move on to pastures anew.

On a recent bike race across China, a stray took this kind of behavior to an entirely different level and it now has a new home with one of the cyclists.

Now named Xiao Sa, or ‘Little Sa’, the stray ran with the cyclists for 20 days, covering 1,700km (1,056mi) until the race’s completion in Lhasa, Tibet. Sa ran for up to 60km per day including journeys over 12 mountains.

Zhang Heng, a 22-year old cyclist and student, found Sa and carried her on some downhill portions of the race, when the racers travelled too fast for the dog to keep up.

Zhang is quoted by China Daily:

She was lying, tired, on the street around Yajiang, Sichuan province. So we fed her, and then she followed our team. We felt she might want to come along with us, so we decided to bring her along to the end.

Short, scruffy and fluffy, Xiao Sa is quite a sight when seen running alongside the group of bikes, and is sure to keep pulling the heart strings of those who watch the videos of this internet and news sensation.

Check out the following video from ITN and see another report on the BBC News website.