During the Adventure Racing World Championship, four Swedish athletes were approached by a stray dog while deep in the heart of the Ecuadorian rain forest. The group was just sitting down for a meal.
They had finally reached the last stages of the grueling race, but still had dozens of miles to trek through the jungle.
Absent-mindedly, they threw the stray dog a leftover meatball. They had no way of expecting what would happen next.
When they realized that the dog was still by their side several kilometers down the trail, they decided to name him Arthur. No matter how tough things got, he refused to leave them.
It was a long and muddy trip. On several occasions they had to pull Arthur out of the mud.
Later, a team-mate became dehydrated and needed medical attention. The dog stood guard over him as they waited.
Near the end, the group realized they would have to leave Arthur behind on a river bank in order to fit in their kayaks. But Arthur dove into the water and swam alongside, until one team member lifted him aboard.
The team captain, Mikael Lindord, said: “He was kind of in the way during the whole paddle and we had to find different paddling techniques to not kick him off board. A few times he jumped into the water and took a swim, and then he crawled back up again and was freezing so he got to wear our jackets.”
Eventually, a team of five crossed the finish line.
And guess what happened next?
Lindord, the team member who let Arthur into his kayak, decided to adopt him.
On Facebook Lindord wrote that he almost cried when he got word that he would be able to take the dog home.
When the team found Arthur he had a bloody wound on his back – he has since been treated.
The team finished 12th, but as Lindord said, “I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship. Instead, I got a new friend.”
And that sounds like the best win of all. To learn more about Arthur’s incredible journey, watch the video below.