Saturday, February 2, 2013

Historical Hounds-Balto

87 years ago on February 2 1925, a Siberian Husky named Balto lead his team of Huskies into Nome, Alaska and earned a spot in canine history.   Balto and his teal lead by Norewegian musher Gunnar Kaasen where delivering a serum to treat a diptheria epidemic that had already claimed the lives of several children and threatened to kill more.     Plains and cars could not enter Nome due to the hazardous weather conditions so doctors realized that the only hope for the town was to have the medicine delivered by mushers and their dogs.  

Several mushers and dogs participated in the run, with the most dangerous part being run by a dog named Togo and the musher Leonard Seppala.
Togo and Seppala 

However, as Balto was the last lead dog to run and the one to arrive in Nome with the serum, he got the credit and the fame.
Balto and Kassen
Balto and Kassen became overnight sensations.  They were formally thanked by President Calvin Coolidge and a statue of Balto was erected in Manhattan's Central Park, near the Tisch Children's Zoo.

Sadly, fame was not a blessing for Balto and he wound up on Vaudeville circuit where he was neglected and abused.   Eventually, George Kimble, a Cleveland business man, bought Balto and moved him and his compatriots to the Cleveland Zoo, where they received better treatment.  Balto died in 1933 at the age of 14.     His body remains on display in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxin six hundred miles over rough ice, across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the Winter of 1925.
Endurance · Fidelity · Intelligence


  1. Wonderful post! I'd heard of Balto, but never Togo!

  2. I know this story...but had never heard of the dogs that came before Balto. Amazing what a team of dogs and a musher can do!

  3. Totally amazing. Just so sad these dogs were not given the retirement they deserved in the first place. Great post. Have a super Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. How wonderful, what a hero Balto was!
    Dip Bridge and Elliot x

  5. Thanks, I didn't know about Balto. So sad, that he had some years of abuse and neglect, but I am glad in the end he found a nice home with the Cleveland Zoo.

    Your pal, Pip

  6. I've heard of Balto, but didn't know the story. Now I want to learn more. I love your "Historical Hound" posts.

  7. What happened to Balto after he made such amazing run is sad...but glad he got good life in the zoo.
    He is a hero, and Togo and other dogs who ran, too.

  8. Hi Y'all!

    Thanks for the history lesson. My Human says she'd forgotten the story of this dog, but she didn't know his sad history after his fame.

    Makes me appreciate my happy home and hope nothing ever happens to change things.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  9. Thank you for sharing- we did not know this story.

  10. That was sad, We hadn't heard of that story, thank you :) Wez all behind'z playing catch up'z xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  11. I've heard of Balto, but not the full story. Thanks for sharing