They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. It seems that applies to dogs too.
As four Swedish athletes sat down to eat some canned meatballs ahead of a dangerous rainforest trek in Ecuador, they gave one to a stray pooch.
That dog, who has been named Arthur, then followed them to complete their entire 430-mile Adventure Racing World Championship.
They’ve now taken him home to Sweden after getting him checked out by a vet.
It didn’t matter what task they took on, Arthur the dog was there.
He swam alongside them while they kayaked down rivers, dragged himself up hills during hikes and pulled through knee-deep mud during treks.
Even when the team tried to get rid of him out of concern for his safety, he refused to leave.
Before one part of the race, a 36-mile kayak around the coast, organizers warned the team that taking Arthur along posed a risk to his and their safety.
They tried to set off without him, but as they left he jumped into the water beside them and started desperately paddling.
Team Captain Mikael Lindord, picked him up, put him in the kayak and let him stay for the rest of the journey.
Adventure Racing is a form of extreme sport that combines continuous hiking, trekking, mountain biking and kayaking over a successive number of days.
The world championships held in Ecuador covered three diverse geographical regions, the Andes, the Pacific and the Amazon rainforest.
Since his return to Sweden, Arthur has been treated for a wound on his back which was three to six months old and still bleeding when the team found him.
Three days ago they said it was “healing fast”.
The ordeal to get Arthur back to Sweden has been documented on the team’s Facebook page.
In one post Lindnord wrote: “I almost cried in front of the computer, when receiving the decision from Jordbruksverket (Board of Agriculture) in Sweden.
“I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship. Instead, I found a new friend.”