Endurance, Fidelity and Intelligence. March 2, 2017 17:30
It's time for an epic tale of dog endurance! When your small Alaskan town is under threat of an imminent diphtheria epidemic, your aircraft has a frozen engine and can’t fly out for the vital antitoxin, any road links are impassable and the weather conditions vicious; who will save the day? In 1925 it was a black Siberian husky called Balto. Yup, there’s a book and a film about him, but the WHOLE story if you dig through a few more snowdrifts, actually involves a hundred and fifty sled dogs.
So to begin. Diphtheria is rampant and fast approaching the small town of Nome. Medics are predicting that without the serum, hundreds of the town’s youngsters will die. Unfortunately, the life saving serum is a thousand miles away in Anchorage and Nome is cut off. Enter the hero, of the hour, a dog, Balto. He was named after a Sami adventurer, and wasn’t thought of initially as a dog of much substance. However, needs must, and dog teams set out in relays to cover the vast, icy expanse of Alaska. Through blizzards and temperatures, which plummeted down to minus 23 degrees F, the animals fought on, staying on the trail through whiteout conditions.
The serum was brought to Nome, the day was saved and Balto was a hero, but a hero amongst many. Togo led another team, Fritz was his half brother, and trying to get them recognised too at the end of the epic journey caused a lot of controversy. Technically, Togo travelled furthest, but it was Balto who led the final leg into Nome, and he who gets the credit!
So, in terms of inspiration, Balto stands for the efforts of every one of those one hundred and fifty sled dogs and their drivers. In commemoration of their journey, there is an annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and a statue of Balto stands proudly in New York’s Central Park.
The legend beneath it reads, "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.”
As if we needed anymore reasons to adore our hounds eh? Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the story, there's loads more where that came from. If your little heroic hound needs warming up, try these..