How Mikael met Arthur – the beginning of a lifelong friendship
This abandoned dog joins an adventure team! This is adventure racing widely-held as the most dangerous sport in existence. Participants travel hundreds of miles across many different climates to a finish line far away. They bike, swim, row, run, and walk towards their destination. Most races take weeks at a time. When the Swiss national team entered the 2014 world championship race, they had no clue they'd attract another member of the team on the way. This member was a dog. His name is Arthur. And this is his story. Arthur and Mikael Lindnord met on day four of the 435 mile race. The dog wandered into a team transition area with flies circling and a nasty cut on his back. Nobody wanted to be near him. Not even Michael at the same time. He thought to himself, “Nobody could be nice to this fellow.” So he took some of his meat balls and put it on the ground in front of him. Michael didn't know he just made what would be a lifelong friend!
Arthur Joined an adventure team
The world championship is brutal. It takes place in Ecuador and challenges teams to travel up to 15,000 feet in height across 13 different climate zones. Only a small portion of specially trained athletes can make it out alive. But somehow, someway, Arthur decided to follow them and captivated the world in the process. After departing the transition area, the team realized someone was following them. It was Arthur. The dog kept his distance, but noticeably stopped whenever the team stopped, and kept following them into the wilderness, the course would end up testing this little dog's health though, even to the point of death. Miraculously, Arthur stuck with the team through the toughest parts of the race He went through the hardest parts of the race with them.
The team took care of Arthur
Karen Lundgren said, “Just because of him, I could focus on something else; I could focus on this dog, fighting just as hard as I did. Team member Stephan Berlin said, “The problem was the race did take its toll, and soon threatened Arthur’s life.” On the dawn of day five, the team was running out of food and water. They were weak and tired. And Arthur began showing signs of decline. “We had a rough night and Arthur was laying down next to us,” Stefan said, “he could barely stand up, and he was breathing really hard to me.” It was really painful to see a dog suffer so much. The team had a difficult decision to make. The team saw Arthur breathing heavily and decided to give up what little food they had to the dog. “It didn't matter, we were probably going to run out of food, “ Karen said, “we didn't have a choice, we had to take care of him.”
Special aura around Arthur
Mikael later said there was some sort of aura around this dog and the team just couldn't leave him. They named him Arthur, after King Arthur, because of his courage. Soon, however, Arthur would come to the end of the road. The last leg of the race was a kayak ride through mangrove swamps and race officials said Arthur couldn't follow the team any longer at that point. But soon after taking off, the team heard a plop in the water.
Some things are bigger than athletics
Arthur had jumped in, and decided to follow them. Anyway, he swam next to their boats in pursuit. This act of loyalty urged Mikael to break the rules of the race. Suddenly Michael reached in the water grabbed Arthur and stuck him on top of the boat. He clearly broke the rules of the race. But nobody on the Swiss national team cared; some things are bigger than athletics. On the sport’s biggest stage, the team who trained so hard, disqualified themselves for a dog. On day six, the team crossed the finish line finishing 12th. It wasn't the place they had mind, but they didn't care. They gained a new friend along the way. The problem was Arthur was severely malnourished, fatigued, and had so many diseases that his very life was in danger yet again. They had to operate and fast.
Arthur found a home with Mikael and his family
If Arthur stayed in Ecuador, he would have been killed. That's the culture. So Mikael took Arthur home to sweep another 6,000 miles away, and immediately took him to surgery. Arthur had enlarged wounds on his back which were very infected. It wasn't certain whether he'd make it after surgery. Arthur had to remain in quarantine for four long months Like he did in the race before, Arthur made it through and found a home with Mikael and his family. Mikael's family fell in love with Arthur too. The dog who traveled 6,000 miles through the jungles of Ecuador wasn't finished yet.
The Arthur Foundation
“He's not like a dog. He's more like a personality,” Mikael said cheering up, “He's so clever. He's so smart.” Mikael was so moved by the dog story, that he ended up creating his own foundation. Because of his experiences in Ecuador Michael created “The Arthur Foundation,” a group formed specifically to help rescue stray dogs in Ecuador. It's been featured on ESPN, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, USA Today, etc. What started out with a meat ball has grown into something that's affected millions of lives both human and animal.
Acknowledgement: video sources: https://youtu.be/SwKc0dnzeoM