Remember the “Balto” animated movie? Well, it’s actually loosely based on a true story. Here are some facts about the real Balto.
Diphtheria Outbreak in Balto’s Hometown of Nome, Alaska
In 1925, several kids got diphtheria. Even though kids were immediately put in quarantine, it was taken seriously because this was a contagious and deadly bacteria. It was impossible to do air travel due to sub-zero temperatures. To get the serum, they went by an old but reliable method: dog sledding.
Dogs and Mushers Went Through Extreme Weather Conditions
In these terrible conditions, the dogs had to move at 52 mph so they wouldn’t get frost. They used two teams for drop and pickup points. As a result, this treacherous trip moved things a lot faster. If it was an ordinary postal service, it’d take 25 days. The dog sledding action made the serum move quicker to the town in 6 days.
Balto Took the Second to Last Lead Team
Even with his inexperience in leading a team for sledding, Balto took the reins and used his scent during the heavy snowstorm. Due to this quick action, they were able to get the serum to the people much faster.
Balto Was Invited to Star in Hollywood Films
Balto got a lot of fame for his journeys. He became a national hero. However, the Balto’s owner felt that it wasn’t just him that took a big part in this relay. However, he still allowed Balto to be used in a film called “Balto’s Race to Nome.”
He Wasn’t Considered an Ideal Lead Sled Dog
Unlike the movie, Balto wasn’t half-wolf. Additionally, he got the lead position in real life because Gunnar Kaasen gave Balto a chance to prove himself.
He Went on Tour
After the movie premiere, Balto went on a vaudeville tour for 9 months across the country. They even dedicated a statue to him in Central Park, NYC.
You Can See Balto at the Cleveland Natural History Museum
After he died, the Cleveland Brookside Zoo gave his body to the Cleveland Natural History Museum to be displayed so visitors can appreciate his contribution.