Four Swedish extreme sports athletes trekking through the rain forest in Ecuador sat down to a meal of canned meatballs, and unexpectedly gained a new four-legged teammate.

Team Peak Performance was participating in the Adventure Racing World Championships, which involves continuous hiking, trekking, mountain biking, and kayaking over several days, through the Andes, the Pacific, and the Amazon rain forest.

As the exhausted team opened their canned dinner, team leader Mikael Lindnord noticed a scruffy stray dog watching him out of the corner of his eye.

Lindnord felt sorry for the animal and fed him a meatball.

As the team prepared to begin their trek into the rain forest, they were surprised that the dog got up and began following them.

Since then, Arthur has been with the team through the entire final two phases of the 690 km journey, struggling up hills and pulling himself through knee-deep mud on the trek.

Out of concern for his safety, the team tried several times to get rid of the animal, but Arthur doggedly refused to leave.

At one point on the journey, the athletes had to kayak 58km around the coast, and decided against taking Arthur, after race organizers warned that a dog in the vessel would be a threat to everyone’s safety.

As the team prepared to set off in their kayak, Arthur jumped into the water and started desperately paddling along next to them.

The team members were heartbroken at the sight, and Lindnord pulled the dog out of the water and into the kayak, receiving cheers and a standing ovation from the spectators on the river bank.

Arthur would remain with the team for the rest of the journey.

When the team napped, Arthur would nap. When the dog got stuck in the deep mud, they helped get him out. When Arthur became exhausted, they stopped to take a break.

Arthur crossed the finish line with the team at the city of Mompiche.

While in Ecuador, Lindnord decided to adopt Arthur. The ordeal to get the dog to Sweden has been detailed on Team Peak Performance’s Facebook page.

Since arriving in Sweden after the grueling journey, Arthur has been given a clean bill of health, and vets say a large 3-6 month old wound on his back is healing well.

Lindnord described the experience by saying ”I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship. Instead, I got a new friend.”

For photos and more details on Arthur’s incredible journey, check out Team Peak Performance’s Facebook page.