Four Swedish athletes about to embark on a 430 mile Adventure Racing World Championship through Ecuador — an extreme sport in which participants engage in a combination of hiking, mountain biking and kayaking over the course of several days — were having some food before they started their journey, when they noticed a dirty stray dog nearby. Team Captain Mikael Lindnord tossed the dog a meatball from his can and from that point on, the dog, since named “Arthur” was inseparable from the team.
Arthur followed his team along some of the most treacherous terrain across three of Ecuador’s geographical regions, the Andes, the Pacific and the Amazon rainforest, and eventually completed the race with the team — with a little bit of help at the end. From the BBC:
He swam alongside them while they kayaked down rivers, dragged himself up hills during hikes and pulled through knee-deep mud during treks. Even when the team tried to get rid of him out of concern for his safety, he refused to leave.
Before one part 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. They tried to set off without him, but as they left he jumped into the water beside them and started desperately paddling.
[Lindord] picked him up, put him in the kayak and let him stay for the rest of the journey.
The story has an even happier ending, because in addition to completing the race, Lindord was eventually granted access to transport Arthur back to Sweden with him, where he was treated by a vet to heal wounds he had sustained prior to even following the team — and now he’ll spend the rest of his days as a beloved companion.
Well, sh*t. Between this and the dog that was reunited with its owner after being dognapped, this is turning out to be quite the week for heartwarming and inspirational canine love stories.
Here are some more photo’s from Arthur’s journal and subsequent rescue, or head to Team Peak Performance’s Facebook page to see the rest.