As the exhausted, dirty and hungry team of Swedish athletes sat down for a break and a meal in preparation for yet another punishing 20-mile trek through the Amazonian rainforest, a scruffy dog showed up, clearly interested in their canned meat. And once team member Mikael Lindnord threw him a meatball, the dog joined the team and completed the final two stages of the 430-mile Adventure Racing World Championship.
Arthur, as the dog was named, became a fully-fledged team member which meant that when he got tired, everyone stopped for a break and when he got stuck in mud, his teammates pulled him out.
Six days later, the now five-member team finished the race, and the dog had clearly suffered, so his team members took him to a vet to have him checked out. But after their Amazon experience, they could not leave Arthur behind and Lindnord decided to adopt him and take him back to Sweden. He applied to the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) and shared the experience on the team’s Facebook page:
I almost cried in front of the computer, when receiving the decision from Jordbruksverket (Board of Agriculture) in Sweden! The team is overwhelmed and happy knowing that Jordbruksverket has approved Mikaels application to bring Arthur to Sweden. A big important piece in the work to get Arhur on the plane, is done. So far so good. But, There are [sic] still one paper to go. The team are now working hard for the very last piece in this puzzel [sic]. I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship. Instead, I got a new friend.
And an athlete, too! (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Team Peak Performance walk with stray dog Arthur during a stage of the 430-mile Adventure Racing World Championship. He followed the group of four during the grueling race.
2. Despite numerous attempts by the team to get rid of the dog, primarily for his own safety, he refused to go. It meant when he got stuck in the knee-deep mud they helped get him out and when he was exhausted, they stopped to take a break.
3. Mikael Lindnord first noticed the scruffy dog when he was sitting down to eat canned meatballs. He fed Arthur one thinking nothing on it, but ended up creating a bond with the dog.
4. Before one of the segments of the race — a 36 mile kayak around the coast — organizers warned the team that taking Arthur along posed a risk to his and their safety. But Arthur swam alongside the boat and ended up being pulled in by Lindord.
5. The race takes teams of four around ten days, and involves continuous hiking, trekking, mountain biking and kayaking.
6. When the team slept Arthur would also curl up and take a nap alongside them.
7. At one point the dog was not able to find any food in the jungle, so the team stopped and gave him some of their canned food.
8. As the team neared the finished the tasks began to take their toll on Arthur and he ended up with some injuries.
9. When the team finished the race, they took Arthur to Ecuador to see a vet in order to prepare him for the trip back to Sweden.
10. Team Peak Performance set up a PayPal account while they were still in South America to garner funds for Arthur’s care.
11. Team member Staffan Bjorklund takes Arthur for a walk outside the clinic. Their story had already grabbed the attention of the media.
12. Arthur offers out his paw to one of the vets as the team wait in the clinic for him to be checked over.
13. After the procedures were complete he was forced to wear a cone on his head. It was then that Lindord decided to adopt him and take him back to his family in Sweden.
14. When Lindord received news that the Board of Agriculture had approved his request for Arthur to be brought back to Sweden, he said he cried while looking at the computer.
And here is the video:
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