Care of Florence McCambridge

 

Adventure racer Mikael Lindnord never had a dog in his life. In fact, he never even wanted one. But in 2014, during the Adventure Racing World Championship, he met the dog who would become his best friend.

About four days into the race that takes participants through some of the world’s most unwelcoming terrains, Mikael and his team were on very little sleep and about to conquer the next leg. They warmed up some meatballs and pasta and as they sat down to eat they noticed a muddy dog standing perfectly still.

“He was big, and underneath the mud and dirt I thought he was probably a golden colour. Even at a distance I could see that some of the mud was blood; he had bad wounds as well as dirt on him.”

Mikael sensed right away that there was something special about this dog. He was stoic, just calmly observing what was going on around him. Mikael gave the dog some of his meatballs, and when the dog finished eating he went back to join his group, hoping the dog would be okay but still focused on the race and all the challenges that lay ahead.

“The organizers had warned us that this stretch of the race was the hardest —impenetrable, pathless and full of flying, biting creatures. The going, we were told, would be bad to terrible.”

It didn’t take long for Mikael and his team to notice that the dog was following them. But they were about to head even deeper into the jungle, soon the dog seemed to be leading them through the jungle, as though he knew exactly where they wanted to go. They spent hours walking through thick mud, with the dog keeping pace as best he could, despite his paws sinking deep into the mud. “But whatever happened we would help him through; he was one of us now.”

Animal lovers will completely relate to the team’s decision to give the hungry dog the last of their food. “I knew we were all exhausted, all hungry, all trying to win. But as I watched Arthur hoover up our only supplies, I thought, I will look after you. Whatever it takes.”

Mikael Lindnord’s Arthur takes readers on a journey through the jungle, with Arthur following close behind, and it continues the story beyond the finish line as Mikael does whatever it takes to bring Arthur back to his family in Sweden.

You can watch a short feature about this incredible story on espn.com.
And you can pick up a copy of Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home in bookstores today.