The Hero Dog Balto

The Hero Dog Balto

Balto was the Siberian Husky sled dog who got famous for his and his team’s heroic run in 1925 in Alaska. In Nenena, Alaska a potentially deadly outbreak of diphtheria was about to start and affect children. The nearest serum to prevent this epidemic was in Anchorage, Alaska. The only transportation between two locations was an aircraft whose engine was frozen and unable to work. Among other alternative transportations, it is decided that the sled dogs are the best option. It was February of 1925, and despite the blizzard and freezing degrees, more than 20 mushers participated in the run. The Balto’s team led by a Norwegian musher, Gunnar Kaasen, completed the longest and the most dangerous tract of the 1925 Serum Run which was almost 600 miles in total. When Balto’s Team reached the final team, they noticed the sled dogs were sleeping, so they completed the run. He even survived and saved the lives of his teammates through Tapkok River. Thanks to efforts of these sled dogs and mushers, especially Balto and Togo who was the lead sled dog of the previous track, hundreds of children’s lives were saved.
In order to honor Balto, his statue was erected near Tirch’s Zoo in Central Park on December 17, 1925. Balto and other dogs were sold to the highest bidder who later abused these dogs in circuses in Los Angeles. A businessman from Cleveland, George Kimble discovers the unhealthy condition of Balto during one of his LA visits and puts an effort to transfer Balto to Cleveland. He spent his later years till he dies in 1933 in Brookside Zoo (Cleveland Metroparks Zoo) where he kept in better conditions. After his death, his remains were mounted, and since then it has been exhibited in Cleveland Museum of National History. Aside from the monuments, Balto is also honored with an animated movie in 1995.

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  1. Balto (1919 – March 14, 1933) was a Siberian husky and sled dog who led his team on the final leg of the 1925 serum run to Nome, in which diphtheria antitoxin was transported from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nenana, Alaska, by train and then to Nome by dog sled to combat an outbreak of the disease.[1] Balto was named after the Sami explorer Samuel Balto. Balto rested at the Cleveland Zoo until his death on March 14, 1933 at the age of 14. After he died, his body was taxidermied and kept in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where it remains today.

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