Team Trek Performance, a Swedish group of four, were taking part in the Adventure Racing World Championship through the Amazon Race. As the team was resting before a 20-mile trek, they saw a stray dog looking hungrily at the food they were eating. Mikael Lindord, from the team, gave the dog a meatball without much thought.
They were so surprised to see the dog following them. It didn’t go even when they shooed him away!
As the team navigated the final two stages of the 430-mile Adventure Racing World Championship, the dog befriended them and was eventually given the name Arthur.
Every grueling task the team face, Arthur would do the same. He swam alongside them while they kayaked down rivers, dragged himself up hills during hikes and pulled through knee-deep mud during treks. Arthur became the fifth member of the team!
As a team member, it meant when Arthur got stuck in the knee-deep mud they helped get him out and when he was exhausted, they stopped to take a break.
Lindord said, ‘At one stage we had to take a break and the dog was totally wrecked. We opened two cans of food and let him eat, because he could find no food at all in the jungle.’
The team once again tried to set off without him, but as they left he jumped into the water beside them and started desperately paddling. Lindord, heartbroken by the site of Arthur struggling in the water, picked him up, put him in the kayak and let him stay for the rest of the journey.
The gesture prompted a standing ovation and cheers from spectators watching from the banks.
After six days the team finished the race, and the dog had suffered injuries. They therefore decided to take him to a vet while still in South America to have him checked out.
Lindnord couldn’t leave Arthur anymore. He applied to Jordbruksverket (the Swedish Board of Agriculture) for Arthur’s adoption and living in Sweden. It was a few tense days before the approval!
Everyone was happy that Arthur can go home with them!
Despite his injuries and the toll the final two stages of the race had taken on him, Arthur began to look healthy as he prepared to fly to Sweden and settle into his new home. The team let passengers stroke Arthur as he wondered around the airport terminal before their flight.
Lindord ended by saying: ‘I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship. Instead, I got a new friend.’