Arthur is a name given to a stray dog in Ecuador by a team of Swedish adventure athletes. Arthur, a stray dog, encountered the Swedish team and began a relationship that started with a meatball! It seems that, after the team encountered Arthur, one of the team members (Mikael) made friends with him and fed him a meatball, thinking it was a "one-time" thing. The team was in Ecuador to participate in the Adventure Racing World Championship activities, which consisted of hiking, kayaking and biking over a 430 mile endurance race through the Amazon rainforest. The loving act of feeding the dog a meatball resulted in a friendship, a name being given to him and his decision to follow the team, regardless of the rigors of the competition. Having forced himself onto the team, Arthur followed them through mud and other rough terrain. When the team had to kayak, the team, deciding that a dog and a kayak didn't mix well, left Arthur behind. In his tenacious spirit, Arthur was not to be left behind, he swam alongside them as they kayaked down the rivers. As the four Swedish team members lowered their kayaks into the water, their hearts broke as they watched Arthur swim alongside. A magical moment followed when, Mikael, feeling sorry for Arthur, helped him into the kayak, eliciting cheers from those spectators on the shore. Six days later, a team of now 5 instead of 4 crossed the finish line as the 12th top team in the world. The team worked to set up a PayPal account and Twitter account to raise money to bring Arthur home to Sweden, where he lives with Mikael and his family. They have also been successful setting up the "Arthur Foundation" to support stray dogs.
Have you heard about the short-eared dogs in the Amazonian rainforest? Well, don't feel alone because these elusive animals are considered one of the Amazon's most mysterious animals. Our second featured famous rainforest inspired dog is named Oso, a name given to him by Renata Leita Pitman, a veterinarian and researcher who had been following him. It has taken over 15 years for her to isolate this elusive "canine ghost" and tag him for electronic monitoring. Renata and her research team found many conflicting pieces of information as they dug into the history of this animal legend, eventually sorting out the true from the false, to arrive at some interesting information about this carnivore who actually prefers fruits! The short-eared dog, named Oso, showed her that he is a peaceful canine who helps the Amazon ecosystem by distributing seeds of many key plants throughout. He seems to get help for his survival from another cryptic mammal, the giant armadillo! It seems the armadillo digs its burrows and then the short-eared dog becomes a squatter in it. Renata has taken Oso on many structured walks, enabling her to study and learn more about its reproductive habits and various sounds the animal makes.
These featured famous rainforest inspired dogs reveal the amazing adaptability (not to mention the loyalty and tenacity) of the canine species, something that those of us who love and treasure our canine family members already know.