by Ashley from Andover

the dog who saved Nome

My hero would have to be the sled dog Balto. Named after a famous Norwegian explorer Samual Johannesen Balto. He was believed to be a Siberian husky that was 55 to 60 pounds with a very box like shape but that was what was said made him so strong. He was not the average sled dog, actually not even close to being chosen to be a sled dog. But thanks to one man Gunnar Kaasen, Balto was able to become not only a sled dog but a lead.

When the city of Nome was facing a serious outbreak of Diphtheria. The town was unable to connect to railroad or fly any planes there, only travel by dog sled in which Balto played a lead role on their nearly one thousand mile travel to Anchorage, Alaska, to retrieve the serum to save the town. Facing temperatures of -53 degrees and pitch black nights, Balto successfully found his way home through snowed-over trails and powerful winds.

Balto (
Balto (

Balto lived in the small town of Nome but after the story took place, he and his team were moved to the Cleveland Brookside Zoo where they lived in comfort for people to see but as they began to die the zoo was taken down. Balto was put to rest, and is now located at Cleveland natural history museum, his body stuffed and mounted for everyone to see the amazing dog. His fur is now no longer black but a brown from the museum's light.


Born in 1919 or 1922 the real date is unsure because there are no actual records of his birth. He was said to be about 6 years of age when he made the serum run. And was put to sleep by a kindly veterinarian Dr. R.R. Powell. He injected Balto and cared for him free of charge, saying it was a honor, on March 14 of 1933. Soon before his death he was suffering from canine arthritis in his rear legs and was also partially deaf and blind.

I personally thought that was amazing - that a dog defeated all odds against him. Even though he wasn't a real sled dog and was not purebred, he proved everyone wrong and just did a wonderful job. Saved a lot of people. It's almost a diversity thing - it is very special showing all people have their strengths, no matter what. He is just a god-given animal, that's why he is one of my heroes because he is just outright heroic.

Page created on 10/5/2009 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 10/5/2009 12:00:00 AM

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