Stray dog Arthur bonds with adventure team; completes gruelling extreme-sport challenge

Arthur was a bedraggled, hungry stray when a kindly stranger offered him a meatball. The man was Mikael Lindnord and he was leading a team in one of sport’s toughest challenges.

The team finished their canned meal and set off on a 40km jungle trek - stage three of the Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador, a race that combines gruelling challenges in trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, navigation and more.

A few kilometres in, they realised the stray was following them. And he refused to leave.

The hike was extremely strenuous and included fighting through knee-high mud, but Arthur stuck with the team throughout, even after he became stuck in the mud and had to be pulled out.

Mikael said: “At one stage we had to take a break. The dog was totally wrecked. We opened two cans of food and just let him eat.”

At another point, a member of the team became dehydrated and needed medical attention. Arthur “loyally stood guard and waited for the team to recover”.

At the end of the trek, Arthur still wasn’t done. The final stage was a 59km coastal kayak, and the team was advised to leave Arthur behind for his own safety. They tried, but Arthur had other ideas, and threw himself into the water when the team started out.

The team said his efforts to keep up were “too heartbreaking to witness”, so Mikael fished him out and brought him along on his kayak.

On that final kayak, Arthur occasionally took a notion to go for a swim in the freezing water, and was so cold when he crawled back onto the kayak that he had to wear the team’s jackets.

Arthur completed all his adventures despite a deep wound on his back that was bleeding when he first met the team. A vet subsequently guessed the wound was three-six months old and had never properly healed.

Once the race was over - the team finished 12th in the world - everyone realised Arthur had formed an unbreakable bond with the team, and particularly with Mikael, so the tough Swede had a vet check him out and applied to adopt him.

The adoption application was successful, and Arthur accompanied Mikael back to Sweden to a hero’s welcome. He’s doing fine and recovering well, the team says.

The Adventure Racing World Championship carries the tagline “The Ultimate Race of Human Endurance”. Think they’ll have to re-brand now :)

(All pictures Krister Goransson/Team Peak Performance and The Team Peak Performance facebook page.)

By Jill O'Sullivan

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