STORIES
Animals

Balto

by Claire from Delaware

<a href=https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/sleddogs/balto.html>Balto the Sled Dog</a>
Balto the Sled Dog

My hero is a sled dog named Balto. He was a good leader, he was very smart and saved lives. He saved lives by bringing medicine to the sick people of Nome, Alaska

A long time ago, in Nome, there was a disease that children were sick with. When the doctor came to see his patients he knew the disease was diphtheria. The doctor didn’t have the right medicine. The children would die if they didn’t get the medicine. Then other people would get diphtheria and also die. The doctor needed to get the medicine quickly. A hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, had medicine. Anchorage was 800 miles away. People put medicine on a train. But soon the train got stuck in deep snow. The train was 700 miles from Nome!

In Nome there was a meeting. Someone suggested having a dog-sled relay. Balto’s master, Gunnar, decided to join the relay. Twenty-one dog teams were in the relay. Each team waited at a different stop. Balto and Gunnar waited at their stop until someone delivered the medicine. Gunnar put the medicine on the sled and then hitched up his dogs even though a blizzard was coming.

When they were traveling all the dogs sank into deep snow and they couldn’t get out. Some of the dogs started to panic, but Balto stayed calm. Gunnar dug them all out.

After that, there was a frozen lake they were traveling on. While they were walking on the lake Balto stopped walking. The ice was starting to crack. Balto, by accident, got his paws wet. Their master, Gunnar, did not know what was going on, so he went to look at what happened. When he saw what happened, he unhitched Balto and rubbed his paws with snow so they wouldn’t freeze. Balto then led his team around the crack. They finally were on land. By now the storm was so rough Gunnar couldn't see his hands even though they were right in front of his face! It was all up to Balto now. When the storm was finally over, Gunnar could see Point Safety, the next stop. There wasn’t anybody there. They had to keep on going, even though they were very tired. It was before dawn when Balto and his team made it to Nome. They had traveled for 20 hours straight and 53 miles!

When Gunnar took the medicine to the doctor, he was surprised. The doctor thought it would have taken 15 days for it to be delivered. Gunnar brought it after just five and a half days! “Thank you, Gunnar, you’re a hero!” said the doctor. “Balto’s the hero, I couldn't have done it without him,” Gunnar said. The doctor rushed to his patients. He gave the medicine to all the people who were sick. Nome was saved.

All over America people cheered for Balto. They read about him in the newspaper. He was the most famous dog in the world. A year later people in New York City put up a statue of Balto, a great dog. I like animal heroes and Balto was a courageous hero.

Page created on 5/10/2007 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 5/10/2007 12:00:00 AM