Siberian huskies are famous because they are beautiful and friendly. Siberian huskies are known also for being sled dogs and having very high energy, but here we present some of the most famous huskies ever. Here we present the story of the most famous Siberian husky ever “Balto”.
In 1925, a life or death race to deliver desperately needed anti-toxin from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska turned a sled dog named Balto into a hero.Balto was a jet black Siberian husky 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. Balto was named after the same explorer called Samuel Balto. He spent the early part of his life as part of a dog team that transported supplies to miners in the surrounding area. Balto was actually considered to be a “scrub dog,” meaning an inferior or slow-working dog . In January 1925 the doctors of Nome realized that a potentially deadly diphtheria epidemic was poised to sweep through Nome’s young people. The only serum that could stop the outbreak was in Seattle, Washington, 2,800 miles (4,480 km) away. The engine of the only aircraft that could quickly deliver the medicine was frozen and would not start. After considering all of the alternatives, officials decided to move the medicine via multiple dog sled teams. The serum was transported by train from Anchorage to Nenana, where the first musher embarked as part of a relay aimed at delivering the needed serum to Nome. More than 20 mushers took part, facing a blizzard with −23 °F (-31 °C) temperatures and very strong winds.
On February 1, 1925, the package was handed off for the last time to a musher named Gunnar Kassen in the village of Bluff. Kassen’s sled dog team, led by Balto, set off to cover the final leg to Nome. Soon after the team left Nenana, a blinding blizzard began, dropping temperatures to -50 degrees (-45°C) and generating wind gusts in excess of 50 mph (80 Km/h).Gunnar Kassen found himself unable to navigate, and almost gave up all hope of making it to Nome in time. But Balto knew the trail well, and, following his instincts, led the team through the cold and snow.
Over the next 20 hours, Balto slowly led his sled dog team over the final 53 miles (85 km). On February 2 at 5.30 AM, the team finally arrived in Nome. The dogs were too tired to even bark, but the serum had successfully been delivered, only seven days after leaving Anchorage, and just 127 1/2 hours after leaving Nenana.
News coverage of the event was worldwide, Balto and the team instantly became famous. Balto appeared on the front cover of newspapers all over the world, and shortly afterward appeared in a short Hollywood movie “Balto and the Race to Nome
Balto and the team were soon sold to a “Vaudeville museum,” and Balto himself was used in different dime shows and stage acts. In 1927, Cleveland resident George Kimble discovered Balto and the team living in horrible conditions, George Kimble started an appeal to raise the funds to buy Balto and the team. Suddenly the nation became interested again, and George Kimble raised the money he needed in only 10 days. The team was quickly shipped to Cleveland zoo, where they received a hero’s welcome.
Balto was a star attraction at the Cleveland Zoo for six years until he died in 1933 . After his death, Balto’s body was mounted and put on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where it remains to this day.
Balto died in March 14, 1933 at the age of 14, but Balto’s legend still lives on today. The 1995 animated film of the same name was also made loosely depicting Balto’s famous journey, He is portrayed as half wolf and is voiced by Kevin Bacon. Balto has a statue at New York City’s Central Park sculpted by Frederick Roth, the statue includes a plaque where is written “Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed anti toxin 600 miles over treacherous waters, through arctic blizzards, from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the winter of 1925 – Endurance, Fidelity, Intelligence”.