What began as a quest to win a world championship turned into an amazing bond when a stray dog refused to leave the side of an adventure racing team during a strenuous 430-mile trek through the Amazon rainforest earlier this month.
Team Peak Performance of Sweden was among those that completed the recent Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador, a grueling competition that includes hiking, mountain biking and kayaking, CNN reported.
The four-member team was taking a break along the race route when the team captain, 38-year-old Mikael Lindnord, shared a meatball with a scruffy stray dog.
After that, the dog began following the participants through the grueling trek, despite efforts to send him away a few times because of the race’s difficulty, according to a post on Team Peak Performance’s Facebook page.
The team helped the dog through some arduous obstacles, helping him out of thick mud at one point, according to CNN.
Eventually, the group accepted their new teammate and even gave him a name, “Arthur.”
On the final leg of the race, which was to be completed in a kayak, organizers warned the team against bringing Arthur, saying the leg of the race would pose a danger to the participants and the dog.
The team was going to follow the advice and set off without their four-legged companion, but Arthur refused to be left behind and started swimming after them.
“This was too heartbreaking for the team, and Mikael helped Arthur up in the kayak. This led to standing ovations from everyone on the shore, seeing the five (!) team mates set off,” the team’s Facebook post stated.
The team finished the six-day race in 12th place, crossing the finish line with their new team member.
Lindnord developed such a bond with the pooch that he decided to adopt Arthur and take him back to Sweden.
He also started the Arthur Foundation, which was created with the intent to help out other stray dogs.
CNN contributed to this story.