In case anyone does not want to read the whole thing – here is a video
The Swedish Peak Performance team involved were doing the Adventure Racing World Championship, a grueling endurance race through the Amazon rain forest where they had to travel 430 miles over rough terrain. It involves climbing mountains, hiking, cycling, running, walking and kayaking.
During one of the stages, the team leader, Mikael Lindnord, saw a rather battered and scruffy looking stray dog watching them. As Lindnord said: He had a sore over his back and it looked like no one had ever been nice to him. He fed the dog a meatball.
And the dog would not leave them. They tried to shake it but the dog joined them for the rest of the race. The dog climbed up mountains and walked through knee deep mud with them. He ran with us for 20 hours. As soon as we stopped he lay on the ground because he was so tired. I thought that he hadn’t eaten so much so he got to share a can of tinned food with the rest of us. We checked our backpacks for more food and we found these two cans of soft food. We took one bite each and we just gave the rest to Arthur, because he was really exhausted.
The dog just would not give up. The team said that, despite his wounds and the fact that he was a starving stray, he was a fighter, that he showed incredible determination and spirit. He participated every step of the way. At this point the dog was named Arthur and was featured on Peak Performance’s website as a team member (see below. Arthur’s new dad is in the row below him in orange). The team knew that Arthur would slow them down and that they were giving up their chance of winning by keeping him with them but as they said ‘you don’t leave a team member behind’
At the start of the last leg which was a kayaking one, the race master told them they could not take the dog, who had now been named Arthur after the King of England, because he was so brave and proud. Arthur became rather stressed and worried when he saw they were leaving him. As the kayaks left the river bank, Arthur dove into the water and desperately paddled after them, despite the fact that he came from the mountains and had probably never swum in his life.
“You can’t reject a dog that had put in so much energy into you,” Lindnord says. “It felt like he was one of the team members, and we didn’t want to let him down.”They then lifted him into the kayak and he was with them for the next 12 hours and 70 miles as they paddled to the end. When Arthur got cold Mikael let him wear his own Goretex jacket.
When the team finished, they all (including Arthur) went to stay at a hotel. A cleaner tried to chase Arthur away but she was told ‘he is one of us’.
Arthur then had a spa day where he was bathed and brushed (probably for the first time ever).
Here he is with the team at a restaurant in Quito
The team decided they would like to adopt him and take him back to Sweden. They opened a Paypal account where they soon had enough money to pay for veterinary treatment for the huge maggot-filled sores on his back (which had apparently been there for 3 – 6 months) and injuries he had sustained on his grueling journey. It became apparent that Arthur had been previously abused. He is about seven years old.
After a nail biting wait, the last paper got to them twenty minutes before take off and they were off!
Television cameras were waiting when the team arrived in Sweden after a 20 hour flight. But everyone was most interested in Arthur who greeted his fans as though he had been born to it.
He will now go into quarantine for 120 days after which he will travel to the north of Sweden to his new life with Mikael Lindnord and his wife and children. The team will be visiting him today.
Quarantine in Sweden sounds rather nice:
Each dog/cat has an inside area of 10 square meters and an outside area the same size. We have room for 21 dogs/cats. Each dog/cat has a doggie door and they can go in and out as they want. The inside temperature is kept at around 18 degrees Celsius.
Breakfast is served around 8:00 am. We believe it is important to have a good dog/cat food and therefore use a high quality, naturally preserved dry food from USA called “Lone Star” or “Precise/Precept” to provide it. It is also a good idea, if possible, to send a little of your dog’s food with him/her so that we can mix their “old” food with their “new” food for at least the first few days.
After food time, we go in to each dog and talk, pet, play. We provide all the dogs/cats with toys, beds and blankets, etc but you are also welcome to send any special items with your dog to Sweden or bring them when you visit. After playtime all the dogs/cats get a Ball or Buster Cube filled with snacks which they must work with to get the snacks out. We also have other activation activities for the dogs/cats: hiding snacks, putting some goodies in a toilet paper roll/plastic container which they must figure out how to get out, etc.
The dogs/cats also receive rawhide a few times a week (please note on your contract if your dog should not get these).
We brush, bathe, clip nails, etc when needed. Around 4pm all dogs/cats receive their dinner and then we go in to each dog/cat and visit/play. Around 11pm we tell all the dogs nighty night and everyone gets some goodnight goodies.
One thing I think we can say for sure is that Arthur will probably never have to go without meatballs again! Mikael says I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship. Instead, I got a new friend.
Photos are credited where possible. Almost all of them were taken by Krister Göransson of Peak Performance and do not belong to me.