A Meatball Wins Stray Dog's Love—and Unreal Devotion
Arthur captures hearts of Swedish racers he doggedly follows
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2014 9:50 AM CST
Meet Arthur the stray dog who followed an extreme sports team during a grueling 430-mile race through the Amazon rainforest and refused to leave their side until the finish.   (TrendingVideos)

(Newser) – If anyone has something to be thankful about this holiday week, it's a stray dog from Ecuador. Earlier this month, Arthur met up with a team of Swedish athletes competing in a 430-mile endurance race in the Amazon rainforest; he graciously accepted a meatball from Peak Performance member Mikael Lindnord and then joined them for the rest of the race, NPR reports. Arthur stayed by their side as they hiked and biked, and even started swimming when they reluctantly thought they'd have to ditch him on a kayak leg. "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," the team posted on Facebook. "But Arthur refused to be left and started swimming. This was too heartbreaking for the team, and Mikael helped Arthur up in the kayak."

Arthur was with them for good, and they "crossed the finish line with 5 members instead of 4," the team says, as per NPR. Lindnord decided he couldn't part with Arthur, so he and his teammates crowdfunded donations to treat an old back wound Arthur had and bring him back to Sweden; they're now visiting him while he's in a mandated 120-day quarantine in Stockholm, after which he'll be brought to live with Lindnord's family. "There will be more visits during these months, but Arthur also has to be given time to relax and adapt to his new settings," the team tells NPR. In the meantime, Peak Performance has set up the Arthur Foundation to help stray dogs. (This dog hopped onto an ambulance to avoid being separated from its owner.)