In a heartwarming story tailor-made for the start of the holiday season, a stray dog followed a team of athletes throughout its grueling 430-mile adventure competition in the Amazon rainforest.
The dog, later named Arthur, came upon Team Peak Performance, a Swedish team competing in the Adventure Racing World Championship, while the athletes were sharing a meal in advance of a 20-mile race stage through rough terrain in Ecuador.
One of the athletes, Mikael Lindnord, took pity on the scraggly pup hovering near their table and fed the dog a meatball.
And that meatball made them friends for life, as far as Arthur was concerned.
The extreme sport of adventure racing blends biking, hiking, and kayaking in a grueling athletic stew that challenges even the fittest of humans. Imagine being a scruffy stray dog trying to keep up. But keep up, Arthur did. The dog followed the athletes as they got up to leave that first meal, and he never stopped following them — swimming alongside the boat when the team kayaked, and taking on muddy slopes when the athletes hiked.
Arthur stayed alongside the team for the rest of the competition, but not without cost to his well-being. Though the team helped Arthur as best as it could during the event, after the six-day race was finished the dog required veterinary attention.
Arthur’s hard work and heart-tugging loyalty paid off, though: Lindnord decided to adopt the dog and bring him back to Sweden.
For a series of amazing photos documenting Arthur’s journey, check out the Daily Mail’s complete story.