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An Alaskan Hero

By Linda Tancs

On January 20, 1925, an outbreak of diphtheria in remote Nome, Alaska, made heroes out of a team of sled dogs thanks to their familiarity with the Iditarod Trail, a 674-mile route typically used to carry mail from Anchorage. In just six days a team of huskies led by Balto covered the route to deliver life saving serum to the citizens of Nome. After furious fundraising, Balto and six companions were brought to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1927 and given a hero’s welcome in a triumphant parade through Public Square. The dogs were then taken to the Brookside Zoo (now the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo) to live out their lives in dignity. When Balto died on March 14, 1933, the husky’s body was mounted and is now housed in the permanent collection at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

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