Wednesday, July 30, 2008



On January 22, 1925, Dr. Curtis Welch sent a telegram alerting the Alaskan governor of the outbreak of diphtheria in Nome, Alaska. The serum needed to combat the disease was delivered to Nenana, the town closest to Nome but still almost 700 miles away. The only aircraft available was useless, having been dismantled for the winter. A relay of sled dogs, it seemed, would be the only way to transport the life-saving medicine.
On January 27, 1925, with the temperatures dropping to –50 degrees below zero, the first team set out from Nenana thus beginning the six day journey. Through bitter cold, blizzards and whiteout conditions, the dogs and their mushers pushed on. Over 150 dogs bravely trekked through horrible conditions with several dying along the way, but they delivered their precious cargo and prevented an epidemic which could have claimed the lives of many of Nome's children.
While their human counterparts toured America as heroes, many of the dogs that traveled with them were treated horribly. Balto, the lead dog who led the way into Nome with the serum, was among those who were sold and displayed in museums under horrible conditions. It wasn’t until George Kimble, along with other citizens of Cleveland, Ohio, purchased Balto and his team, that these brave dogs were finally treated with respect. The seven dogs, Balto, Alaska Slim, Fox, Billy, Sye, Old Moctoc and Tillie lived out their days in a good home at the Brookside Zoo in Cleveland.
While human arrogance combined with the horrible treatment of these brave dogs would taint the accomplishments of The 1925 Serum Run, there can be no mistaking the extraordinary effort put forth by these courageous dogs who truly were canine heroes.


Thor and Marco Polo and 3 Kats said...


Thanks for sharing Balto's Story. He is our hero!

Thor and Marco Polo

Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

Balto is khwite a hero -

And he's a Mal - I have a MalGalPal AND a MalMaleBF -

Mom doesn't let me eat the stuff on the street - I did try some mulberries in the spring - didn't khare fur them but kept trying each time I passed them thinking they would taste better!


Simba said...

Balto was a real hero.

Simba x

Suka said...

hey Desert Pups,

What a great story - until the sad part about the hero doggies being treated mean, which made me very mad Grrrrrr! - but then it ended on a happy note. I humbly admit that although being of Alaskan heritage I have never heard the story. So thank you for sharing Balto's story. They are hero doggies to me.


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