‘Swedish’ street dog becomes global celebrity

'Swedish' street dog becomes global celebrity
Tales of a stray dog who latched on to a team of Swedish athletes in Ecuador have been lapped up by international media this week. The Local has learned that a new charity is being launched in the animal's honour.
The dog first became something of a celebrity in Sweden after it emerged that he became close to the four-person extreme sports team which found him during a race in the Amazon.
Now Arthur has developed an international fan club. News outlets including the BBC, USA Today, The Daily Mail and the Washington Post have reported that the dog is set to move in with the team's captain Mikael Lindnord, 38, at his home in Örnsköldsvik in northern Sweden. 
"I couldn't have imagined that this was going to happen. I though this might be big in Sweden maybe, but now I am in the middle of a storm. My phone is going and if it is not that, it is Skype or my email and it is hard to keep track!" Lindnord told The Local on Tuesday.
The homeless animal first befriended the team – which was taking part in the Adventure Racing World Championship – after Lindnord gave him a canned meatball in the rainforest.
The dog then followed the Swedes as they dragged themselves up hills and launched themselves down rivers during their challenge, which combined hiking, trekking, mountain biking and kayaking.
Arthur (right) and the team. Photo: Team Peak Performance
At times the team – known as Team Peak Performance – tried to get rid of their new member because they were worried about his safety, but Arthur refused to leave their sides.
The group took the dog to a vet after the race to check out a wound on his back, but by then team captain Mikael Lindnord was smitten and he decided to apply to the the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) to ask if he could take the animal back to Sweden.
After a tense wait, he was given permission to do so and the dog joined him in Sweden last week.
Arthur will remain in quarantine until March, but is being visited regularly by Team Peak Performance members. 
"One of them was there today and said he was lovely and he was jumping into his knee and was just super glad to see him," said Lindnord.
The animal is also already a hit with Lindnord's daughter, who is eighteen months old.
"She loves him and keeps going 'woof woof' around the house," he told The Local.
On Sunday the team posted on its Facebook page that Arthur had been checked by vets and that "the big wound on his back is healing fast. The wound on his back was 3-6 months old and was still bleeding when we found him."
The team is now launching Arthur's Foundation, a charity to help other homeless dogs in Ecuador.
"Nobody really cares about dogs there, they have no rights. People can do anything they want to these animals without getting into trouble. It is terrible," Lindnord told The Local.
The extreme athletes will resume training for their next race shortly and will head to Wanaka, New Zealand, for the competition in February.
The Local asked Lindnord if they would make the headlines again – this time by securing a win?
"Ha ha, maybe," he laughed.
He said that Arthur would remain in Sweden during the contest "where he can have many more adventures in future".

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