LIFESTYLE

Shared meatball - and extreme race team - leads stray dog from Ecuador to Sweden

Team Peak Performance via Instagram

 (Team Peak Performance via Instagram )

Arthur the dog’s amazing journey from the Amazonian jungles of Ecuador to the Scandinavian country of Sweden began with a chance encounter with a group of adventure racers and a shared meatball.

While preparing for another grueling leg of the 430-mile World Adventure Racing World Championship, members of the Swedish outfit, Team Peak Performance, had just cracked into their canned meat dinner when a mangy, bleeding dog appeared. The team offered the poor pooch a Swedish meatball and from then on the dog didn’t leave the squad’s side.

“The first rule of adventure racing is that everything can happen, sometimes the most unexpected things,” the team later said in a statement, according to the Washington Post. “This is the story of the dog, Arthur, the new teammate of Team Peak Performance.”

Arthur continued the journey along with the four-man team as they journeyed on a grueling race course that tests the physical and mental barriers of its competitors by hiking, climbing, biking and kayaking over hundreds of miles. When the team got stuck in the mud, so did Arthur. When they paddled on kayaks, Arthur swam beside them. And when they slept on concrete floors, Arthur napped alongside them.

“At one stage we had to take a break, and the dog was totally wrecked,” team member Mikael Lindnord said, according to the Daily Mail. “We opened two cans of food and let him eat, because he could find no food at all in the jungle.”

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The most pivotal point of Arthur’s journey was the final stage of the race, when the team had to kayak over a fast moving river. Arthur appeared nervous and the team thought that they would have to leave him on the riverbank.

The dog, however, jumped in after them and began to swim alongside the kayaks.

“This was too heartbreaking for the team, and Lindnord helped Arthur up on the kayak,” the team wrote.

After the race, Lindnord thought about what might happen to Arthur if they left him in Ecuador, so the adventure racer decided to take him to the vet, get him checked out and file papers to adopt the stray dog.

"He was in really bad shape when we took him in," he said. "He had big and quite deep bleeding wounds on his back with parasites crawling around inside of them. The vet told me that Arthur probably had sustained those wounds around three to six months ago and has been carrying them ever since."

After an extended stay in Ecuador so that his wounds could heal, Arthur finally arrived in Sweden earlier this month where he met his teammates and Lindnord’s daughter Philippa.

“She was just saying ‘Doggy, doggy, doggy’ and seemed very interested,” Lindnord said. “I think she was a bit afraid to pat him, but that will work out nicely when he comes to our house. He is a sweet dog.”

The ordeal of getting the dog from Ecuador to Sweden was documented on the team’s Facebook page.

“The team is overwhelmed and happy knowing that Jordbruksverket (Board of Agriculture) has approved Mikael's application to bring Arthur to Sweden,” Lindnord said before the dog arrived. “A big, important piece in the work to get Arthur on the plane, is done. So far so good. But, There [is] still one paper to go. The team [is] now working hard for the very last piece in this puzzle.”

“I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship,” Lindnord added. “Instead I got a new friend.”

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