A team of Swedish athletes competing in a grueling race through the jungles of Ecuador befriended a miserable-looking stray dog, and were astonished when the animal joined up with their group, tackling the daunting terrain to follow them to the finish.
As the Washington Post reports, Team Peak Performance was preparing for the final two stages of the 430-mile race when they spotted the stray dog, mud-splattered and bleeding. One of the racers, Mikael Lindnord, took pity on the dog and offered it a meatball. From that moment on, the dog refused to leave the team’s side.
— Ahmen Khawaja (@AhmenKhawaja) November 24, 2014
“The first rule of adventure racing is that everything can happen, sometimes the most unexpected things,” the team noted. “This is the story of the dog, Arthur, the new teammate of Team Peak Performance.”
The dog followed them for the rest of the race, assailing the same extreme terrain as the team. Arthur struggled in muddy areas, and the team tried to send the dog away for his own safety, yet he always returned.
— darth™ (@darth) November 24, 2014
The pivotal moment in Arthur’s story came when Team Peak Performance lowered their Kayaks into the water for one of the last legs of the race, according to the Daily Mail. The dog became anxious and stressed as he realized the team was going to venture out on the water. They set off without Arthur, but were astonished when just moments later they spotted the dog swimming alongside their kayaks. Heartbroken by the sight of Arthur struggling to keep up, Lindnord hoisted him into the kayak, prompting a standing ovation from spectators.
— W A L L E N (@Hyacinth39) November 23, 2014
Lindnord decided after the race that he could not leave Arthur, so he decided to adopt the stray and take him back to Sweden. He filed an application with the Swedish Board of Agriculture, and waited several tense days before it was approved.
“I almost cried in front of the computer, when receiving the decision from Jordbruksverket (Board of Agriculture) in Sweden!” Lindnord wrote. “I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship. Instead, I got a new friend.”
Arthur isn’t the only stray to recently get a chance at a new life. As the Inquisitr previously noted, a homeless dog in Los Angeles was rescued earlier this year and cleaned up by a groomer from Hollywood. After just a few days, the stray dog was taken in by new owners.
[Image: Team Peak Performance via the Daily Mail]