It all started with a meatball. Arthur, a stray dog from Ecuador, caught sight of the adventure racing Team Peak Performance during their race through the Ecuadorian jungle at the Adventure Racing World Championships. After receiving a meatball, he never left them again.
Arthur followed the team through deep mud, in kayaks through rivers, and all the way across the finish line in the world championship. He ate, he slept, and he fought like a regular team member. A team that started as four, was suddenly now five.
The Adventure (AR) World Series is a gruelling 430-mile (692 km) endurance race through the Amazonian rain forest. Athletes must hike, kayak and bike their way to the finish over a span of six non stop days. The team first encountered Arthur on a muddy trek during the second last stage.
According to the Team Peak Performance blog:
They tried to send him off a few times but he always showed up beside the team again as they made their way through the trekking. In the beginning it went well, but when it became muddy he was having problem and the team had to help Arthur through some of the deepest mud.
Arthur followed the team all the way to TA9 and waited with the team. But then he suddenly got very worried and stressed as he realized the team would get out on the water. The organization gave the advice not to bring dog Arthur out on the last leg – a dog in the kayak didn’t seem like a great idea – and the team was going to follow this advice.
Mike, Simon, Staffan and Karen put their kayaks down in the water and set off, but Arthur refused to be left and started swimming. 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. And yes, Dog Arthur was with the team all the way across the finish line. He took a few swims along the way of the paddling, but there was no doubt about him returning to the team.
After the race, the real battle began for the team to bring Arthur to Sweden. Numerous veterinary visits, documents signed and hours upon hours of work from the team finally paid off. The 20th of November Arthur arrived on Swedish soil – and has been welcomed to his new country by thousands and thousands of fans from all over the world.
Arthur is just one out of thousands of stray dogs, and the Arthur Foundation was established to help all other “Arthurs” out there.