When survival is all you’ve ever known, even the simplest act of kindness can transform your life. A tiny piece of food delivered to a starving stray dog was a life-changing gesture in this story. The events that resulted from one kind of act made headlines throughout the world and warmed the hearts of millions.
Years later, the story of Team Peak Performance and a dog named Arthur continues to intrigue us. Mikael Lindnord was leading his team of extreme athletes through Ecuador’s 2014 Adventure Racing World Championship. They halted for a dinner on day four before beginning a 20-mile hike through the rainforest.
Lindnord cracked a can of Swedish meatballs open. He observed a filthy, emaciated stray dog with a huge wound on its back as he ate. He threw some food to the dog, overcome with pity. From that point on, the pooch – who the four members of Team Peak Performance would later name King Arthur – refused to leave their sides. Arthur persevered no matter where they traveled or what arduous work they were completing.
They attempted to shoo him away at first, worried for his safety as he traversed the treacherous terrain. Lindnord put his foot down as they approached a particularly perilous event – a 36-mile kayak race over the coast. It was impossible to bring Arthur along.
However, Arthur splashed into the dark, icy waters and waded alongside the kayak as the squad set off. Lindnord ultimately realized that Team Peak Performance now had a permanent fifth member and hauled him to safety. As Arthur resumed his due place beside his colleagues, spectators around the riverbank erupted in spontaneous applause.
In total, the loyal dog accompanied the team for 430 miles through deep muck, mountain passes, and just about every type of physical hardship imaginable. Lindnord’s crew did not win the tournament, but they learned an invaluable lesson about the power of love and the strength of the human spirit.
As a result of the six-day journey, Arthur sustained multiple injuries and was exhausted. Team Peak Performance’s PayPal account was inundated with donations from admirers all over the world who wanted to help him return to Sweden.
Obtaining the proper documentation to return Arthur to his home proved to be nearly as difficult as the physical challenge, but Lindnord eventually succeeded. Arthur was treated for his wounds and ultimately arrived at his new home after four months of quarantine.
Lindnord claims he walked in the door like he’d been there a thousand times. He and Arthur have now retired their racing shoes to devote more time to their families, but they still enjoy a good hike or a kayak excursion together!
A poignant piece about Arthur and Team Peak Performance was developed by ESPN’s outstanding filmmakers and broadcast on March 5 during SportsCenter. It’s a little longer than our regular clips, but it’s a must-see for any dog lover!