Updated: Feb 28
Dog #6: Balto, a Siberian Husky
While many may be familiar with the 1995 children’s film, Balto, some may not realize that the cartoon is based on fact. In the middle of the 1920’s in the middle of a frigid winter, the quaint town of Nome, Alaska had a fatal case of diphtheria on their hands. With no means of transportation available to them other than dog-sleds, Anchorage, Alaska seemed a very far 500 miles away. But it was there that the community of Nome needed to be in order to gain a medical serum that would resolve the health crises.
There were many volunteers in the village who stepped up, ready with their team of loyal, athletic dogs. Creating a chain across Alaska, each musher set up at different “check points” where they would be relieved, allowing for the sled teams to experience some intermitted rest during the five-day journey. Musher, Guuner Kaasen and his young Siberian Husky, Balto were the last stretch of the “race”.
The serum successfully brought to Nome was the hard work and bravery of many men and their canine companions, but Balto became the face of the monumental success and now known as one of the most famous dogs in history. Today, a bronze statue in Central Park pays homage to the steadfast endurance and courage we’ve come to associate with our canine friends.