If you browse the interwebs regularly, you know that there’s no shortage of hero dogs out there. But even by those lofty standards, this legendary pooch stands head and shoulders above the rest.

It all started in 1925 in the remote Alaskan town of Nome. A strange illness had broken out among the children of the town and medical supplies were perilously low. That’s when a sled dog named Balto stepped in.

In 1925, the children of Nome, Alaska were struck by a diphtheria outbreak.


There was only one doctor in the town and he had almost run out of the serum necessary for treating the infection.


The nearest supply of the serum was in Seattle, almost 2,000 miles away!


The only airplane that could have delivered the serum to Nome had a frozen engine, so the townspeople decided to transport the supply of serum using a chain of dog sled teams.


The serum traveled by train to the town of Nenana where it was picked up by the first of more than 20 musher teams. For five-and-a-half days, the serum passed between sled teams as it made its way to Nome.


The final and most important leg of the 674-mile journey was led by a Siberian husky named Balto and his sled driver, Gunnar Kaasen.


Balto went above and beyond the call of duty during the final leg, which was completed almost entirely in the dark and during near-whiteout conditions.

balto gunnar kasaanPBS

According to Gunnar, it was Balto who kept them on the trail even when he couldn’t see his own hands in front of him. It’s almost like Balto knew how important their mission was.

balto togo dogWikipedia

The mission was a complete success and both Balto and Gunnar became national heroes. A sculpture of Balto by Frederick Roth was even erected in Central Park in New York City.


Balto’s story stood the test of time and was even made into an animated film in 1991!


What an amazing tale! It’s heroic acts like this that have earned dogs the title of Man’s Best Friend. His legacy deserves to be honored for the rest of time.

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