Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rescuing Balto

Most people still know something of the story Balto, the Siberian Husky who led his dog team on the crucial final link of the serum run to Nome, Alaska in 1925. And yet, despite the engaging animated version of Balto's life, and its (forgettable) sequels, few realize that, within a year or two after his heroic feat, Balto himself needed rescuing -- from a dime museum where he was confined, ill-treated, and exploited by a showman in search of that "one thin dime" from his customers. As news of Balto's situation spread, the good people of Cleveland, Ohio stepped up with a "Balto fund" that collected enough money to buy him and six of his companions from the museum and install him in permanent, comfortable home at the city's zoo. Balto's arrival was heralded by a parade on March 19, 1927, which was well-attended despite the rain. Balto lived out his years in comfort with top veterinary care; after his death in 1933, his remains were taxidermied and placed in a case at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History -- where they may still be seen today. You can read more about Balto's life and career here.

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