When the four members of the Swedish Peak Performance Team started off their journey in the Adventure Racing World Championship held in Ecuador, they never imagined they would be interviewed by multiple global news outlets even after placing 12th on the race. Their jump to fame was not just because they participated and completed this grueling competition, but also because they were compassionate enough to look after a stray dog that joined them mid race.
Arthur is the malnourished Ecuadorian stray mutt who became the fifth team member, but the first one to be of the four-legged kind. When the adventure racing team was preparing to start a 24.8 mile jungle trek, Swedish Peak Performance Team captain Mikael Lindnord saw the dog looking for food and shared a meatball with the pet.
This act of kindness was what prompted the dog to follow the team and participate in the race.
At first the team had no idea the dog had been following them, but a few miles into the jungle, team members realized the four-legged friend was keeping close tabs on them. The dog even treaded through knee-high mud, and needed his human friends to help him out.
“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,” Lindord told Gear Junkie.
The dog even looked after team member Simon Niemi when she got hurt due to dehydration.
Walking miles in the jungle didn’t deter Arthur from following his new found family, the dog was willing to go on the next portion of the race, a 36 mile kayak course.
Race organizers advised the Swedish team to leave the dog behind during the water course. Taking the pet on the water portion of the competition would be difficult and dangerous, and the team thought Arthur would simply stay on shore once all team members were on board their kayaks, but Arthur had no plans to stay behind. He stubbornly swam after his team members.
For Lindord, seeing the dog swimming next to them was just heartbreaking, and he couldn’t just ignore his furry friend. Instead, Lindord helped the four-legged competitor get on the kayak and race spectators cheered once as soon as they saw Arthur being pulled out of the water and onto the kayak.
After competing for six arduous days, all five members of the Swedish Peak Performance Team crossed the finish line. The European team might not have won first place, but they won Arthur’s heart.
Animal lovers worldwide learned about Arthur’s endeavors and what the team had done, and they donated enough money to get the mutt home to Sweden. Race followers weren’t the only one lending Arthur a hand, the team’s sponsors, Peak Performance, helped get the Arthur home too.
The dog was taken to a veterinarian and after getting his shots and receiving his passport he got on a plane to start his new life in Sweden.
Arthur didn’t just become the fifth team member. He became a family member when he was officially adopted by Lindord himself.