Mikael Lindnord, a Swedish athlete, grew up to be tough above all else. He prepared himself to function without sleep, to be extremely fit, and to be able to climb, ride, and trek across the most challenging terrains under the most demanding competition circumstances—always while racing against the clock and frequently with little to no sleep, writes ilovemydogsomuch
According to Val Hudson, co-author of “Arthur,” adventure racing is “simply the toughest sport in the world.”
Growing up in northern Sweden, Mikael was a young man who took to the outdoor sports of skiing, skating, and ice hockey like a duck to water. He did not, however, grow up around animals like his wife Helena did, and he did not own or desire any pets. Additionally, they had Philippa, a beautiful and young daughter, in November 2014 when she was only two years old, thus having any kind of pet was out of the question.
Soon after, Mikael was in the Ecuadorian forest as a result of his endurance racing. To a biodiverse but incredibly hostile region of the world, where there were poisonous creatures that bit and stung, treacherous pathways, rocky mountains, and swift rivers.
Four days into the marathon, while he and his crew were switching from riding to trekking, Mikael caught a glimpse of a calm, haughty figure in the corner of his eye.
The tattered yet lovely puppy was an unexpected sight amid all the chaos of the transition area. In that region of the world, the majority of stray dogs bother people and beg for food. However, this dog was just staring at Mikael, not moving or barking, and Mikael could tell he was in trouble. He offered the dog some of his limited supplies of food, some meatballs, which he carefully spooned onto the ground in front of the dog.
The dog ate the meal while ravenous and hurt before turning his attention back to Mikael. Mikael chose the name Arthur for him because of his majesty and serene air of wisdom, which reminded him of regal, kingly beasts.
From that point forward, a remarkable bond developed.
Arthur followed, equally fatigued as the group as they waded through mud, water, and dense woodland, never leaving Mikael’s side. Mikael realized he would eventually be with Arthur, the dog who had bet everything on him, as they crossed the finish line. However, neither the Swedish nor the Ecuadorian authorities wanted the dog to be brought into their respective nations.
Arthur also suffered serious injuries and tooth damage. He required surgery immediately. Unusually, Mikael managed to get Arthur to a veterinarian in Ecuador, onto a flight to Sweden, and finally into quarantine after days of stressful discussions. Arthur’s journey to safety and happiness wasn’t simple—the plane terrified him, and the surgery left him completely confused.
But in the end, he and Mikael arrived in the tiny Swedish hamlet of Ornskoldsvig, where Mikael resided, and they all returned to Helena, Philippa, and the newborn baby Thor. As gentle and dignified as usual, Arthur quickly adapted to his new home and nation.
I knew the tale going into this project and was incredibly enamored with it. Since I’ve spent my entire career working in non-fiction publishing, I’ve written a lot of books about dogs, whether they’re about how to care for them, how they act, or the adventures they’ve had. However, this tale seems to transcend all limitations. In the case of Arthur and Mikael, the remarkable attachment between a human and a dog is almost unheard of. And particularly intriguing because Mikael had no intention of ever meeting a dog, saving a dog, or even owning a dog.
Hearing Mikael speak and working with him to write the book left me feeling very moved. High drama, stress, and, yes, tears appeared to come thick and fast during these moments. It wasn’t just the time Mikael fed Arthur in the forest; it was also the agonizing battle to get Arthur out of Ecuador, which Mikael finally succeeded in after seven days of racing and little sleep. The moment Arthur awakens after a severe procedure in Quito, wailing in agony, but is immediately calmed by Mikael’s touch as he wraps his arms around him; the moment the permission finally comes through, just minutes before Mikael’s plane left Ecuador; the time Arthur gets lost on the mountain and the times he returns home to Mikael and develops a relationship with his two young children.
It was all extremely riveting and left me with great admiration for Mikael and what he has done. I also developed a strong bond with Arthur, who is truly the most captivatingly gorgeous dog – he has such presence, manners, and beauty. Going on a walk with him and getting to know him and his family was a privilege.
I sincerely hope readers enjoy this great, heartwarming tale and that it will raise public awareness of the situation of stray dogs worldwide.
Since he was saved, Arthur has become the face of South American and Ecuadorian dog charities, serving as a symbol of hope for those who work to care for the hundreds of abandoned animals. He has a foundation of his own with the goal of rescuing and legalizing animals.
The K9 Magazine team adores this book. It reflects the idea that sometimes you’ll find a special being (on two legs or four), and be forever attached. It is uplifting, full of hope and love.
Read more at Dog Family category