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Balto

by Stephany from Denver

Balto was a famous sled dog. They don’t know what his breed was but they say he could've been a Siberian husky or an Alaskan malamute. Although his breed was unknown, he was a great dog. He was named after Samuel Balto, a Norwegian explorer. Balto lived from the year 1922 to the 14th of March 1933. In January 1925, doctors realized there was a deadly diphtheria epidemic that had started to spread in the streets of Nome. The only serum that could help with the outbreak was in Anchorage, Alaska, that was nearly a thousand miles away. The airplanes that were usually used as transportation were dismantled. They decided to transport the serum by dog sled.

The goal of this relay was to deliver the needed serum to Nome. More than 20 mushers took part, facing blizzards -53 below in temperatures and strong winds. This relay was put worldwide on news stations. A Norwegian Gunner Kaasen led his sled team with Balto in the lead into Nome. The most dangerous and longest part of the serum run was the part Leohard Seppala and his dog team covered, led by Togo. They came from Nome towards the end of the run and picked up the serum from another usher named Henry Ivanoff. Then the medication was later passed onto Kassen. But then Kassen didn’t believe Balto was much of a lead dog. Balto proved Kassen wrong on the Idiatroid trail, saving his team from certain death in the Topok River. Balto was even able to stay on the track in whiteout conditions. Kaasen also admitted he could barely see his hand in front of his face. After the successful mission both Balto and Kaasen became celebrities worldwide.

In honor of Balto, Federick Roth in NYC Central Park sculpted it just 10 months after Balto's arrival in Nome. After Balto died in 1933 his body was preserved in Cleveland Natural History Museum. The reason he is my hero is because he saved many lives in Nome through the blizzards, icy roads and huge storms. He proved that he was a very good leader. He proved that he could be trusted and known as a very good leader. Although the man Kassen thought he wasn’t a good dog leader he proved that he was by getting in the sled race to get the medicine there safely and saving lives on the way there.

Page created on 7/1/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 7/1/2011 12:00:00 AM

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