The famous Siberian Husky sled dog Balto, who led the team to bring serum to stop a dipththeria epidemic, died of old age in 1933, at the age of fourteen.
Balto died of old age. After his death, his body was mounted and put on display in the Natural History Museum located in Cleveland, Ohio.
There is much more to know about Balto than just how he died.
- Balto’s well-known story began in 1925, when an epidemic of diphtheria broke out in Nome, Alaska.
- There was a medication available that could stop the epidemic, but none was within easy distance.
- The nearest serum was, in fact, in Anchorage, Alaska, which was well over one thousand miles away from Nome.
- With limited options for travel in the midst of a frozen Alaskan winter, the medication was sent out from Anchorage by sled dogs.
- A relay of more than twenty mushers in the midst of a blizzard set out to deliver the medication.
- Balto was the lead dog on the final leg of the journey, and kept his team alive in incredibly perilous conditions.
- His musher, Gunnar Kaasen, attributed their survival and success to Balto.
The famous sled dog’s life was captured in an animated film in 1995, and Balto’s immense fame as a loyal and heroic canine was sealed.
Today, the “serum run” across Alaska is honored with the annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race.