Arthur was once a stray dog. Now he has become world-famous. Four members of a Swedish athletic team, and a canine they named Arthur, are part of a heart-warming story of compassion with a happy ending. It all started with a meatball.
Mikael Lindnord, and three other athletes from Sweden’s Peak Performance adventure team, competed with other endurance athletes from around the world, in the Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador, this month.
Teams of four athletes race in this non-stop athletic event for up to 10 days in disciplines like kayaking, mountain biking, navigation, trekking, and more. Courses are kept secret until just before the start. This year, Sweden’s Peak Performance team had to race a 430-mile endurance race through the Amazonian rain forest.
Prior to starting one of the stages of the event, a stray dog approached the team and started following them.
ABC News reported team member Mikael Lindnord’s reaction to the animal’s behavior.
“It was more like, OK, he’s going with us. What should we do? We need to feed him otherwise he will die.”
Mikael Lindnord befriended the dog and shared a meatball with the wandering canine. The team named the dog Arthur. Mikael figured that would be the end of his time with the stray dog; however, the animal followed the team as they made their way through rough terrain and mud.
When the team put their kayaks in the river for the final leg of the race, organizers advised them against taking the dog. For Arthur’s safety and theirs, they tried to leave the poor mutt behind. However, Arthur jumped into the river and started to swim together with the team in their kayaks.
This was too heartbreaking for the team; they were deeply moved by the dog’s devotion. Mikael helped Arthur up in the kayak and put him on his lap. This led to a standing ovation from everyone on the shore.
Mikael shares his simple decision.
“It was like, you know, OK, you’re going with us, and that’s how it went.”
After six days and nights, the team crossed the finish line.
The Peak Performance adventure racing team reported after six days and nights out in the wilderness, they reached the city of Mompiche at the shore of the Pacific Ocean, at noon on Saturday. The team was happy and in good spirits; everyone was feeling well, overall. They ended up in 12th position in this Adventure Racing World Championship – not quite as high as they had hoped for, but a great achievement from team members Mikael, Staffan, Simon, and Karen. They started with four team members – but finished with five. Arthur completed the race with the team.
Lindnord didn’t want to leave his new best friend behind; he figured out a way to bring Arthur home to his family in Sweden. The team opened up a Paypal account and started a Twitter campaign to raise money to bring Arthur home with them.
The team also had Arthur treated for a wicked wound to his back that he suffered months before they met the dog in the rainforest.
NPR contacted the Swedish team to find out how the dog was doing.
“Arthur is in the dog quarantine in Stockholm, where he has to be for 120 days before he can go home to Örnsköldsvik, where he will live with the Lindnord family. A team member visited him today and there will be more visits during these months — but Arthur also has to be given time to relax and adapt to his new settings!”
In an attempt to support stray dogs, the team started the Arthur Foundation. It all started with a meatball.
[Photo courtesy of Krister Goransson/Team Peak Performance]