On May 4th, 2012, a nameless stray dog with white fur tinged brown around her eyes accepted a chicken bone from a passing bicyclist. She then followed the cyclist and team for over 1,000 miles through some of the highest elevations in China.

For 24 days, the tiny Xiao Sa padded alongside her cycling compatriots, all the way to their destination in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. The dog, whose name the cyclists gave her, became an internet sensation in her home country, with her own blog called (Go Go Xiao Sa) and regular video updates. Watching her run alongside the cyclists up and down twisting mountain roads is an astonishing sight – but could a simple act of generosity really yield this kind of loyalty?

“She once ran 37 miles in one day, going uphill,” one of the cyclists, Xiao Young, told China Central TV. “We were very impressed by Xiao Sa’s persistence. “When the cyclists arrived in the Tibetan capital, Xiao Sa was taken to a veterinary hospital for a checkup – her fees were waived after the workers heard her amazing story.

Where is the little white dog now? With Xiao Young in the city of Wuhan, enjoying a well-deserved rest with her newly adopted owner. While humans may never truly understand what motivates a tiny-legged stray like Xiao Sa to make an epic trek of over 1,000 miles for the sake of a kind gesture, the element of loyalty in dog behavior has been celebrated for ages in literature, film and art.

Most people approach dog adoption looking for just that sort of companionship – and while all dogs are different in temperament and personality, they are remarkably devoted creatures. You shouldn’t expect your new pet to make 37-miles-a-day treks for you, but you can rely on a good friend who’s always up for a game of fetch, a belly rub or a good walk. Even if it’s not all the way to Tibet.

This content is provided by the pet wellness experts at Hartz. We know that adopting a dog or cat is a huge commitment, so we’re here to help you feel confident and become the best pet parent you can be.

Photos: Screenshots from YouTube

 

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