Every March, millions of people worldwide turn to Alaska, and our famous Iditarod dog-sled race. The years of preparation and training include not only the work of the mushers, but also the vital training of the many sled dogs needed for a winning team to run at top speed in winter from Willow, Alaska, to Nome.
That’s nearly one thousand miles of snow and ice, in country where anything can happen. Without a good dog team, a musher cannot run the Iditarod race.
Balto is one of the most famous dogs ever to run to Nome. In fact, he ran the most important Iditarod race of all. That was the first one, in 1925, when the lives of many sick–mostly Alaska Native children–in Nome depended on the serum that a series of mushers and teams had taken north, by day and by night, closer and closer to Nome.
Balto was only three years old when he helped carry serum across Alaska to save the many children from the deadly diphtheria epidemic. As leader of the last dog team in the life-saving relay race, from Nenana to Nome, he became an overnight sensation, and an unexpected international canine celebrity.
One of our authors has written a children’s book, The Adventures of Balto, which fills in the life of this amazing and big-hearted dog. Patricia Chargot of Michigan realized the facts of Balto’s life weren’t completely known, and wrote a charming little book that’s been known to enchant young and old.
The Adventures of Balto is a good introduction to what it takes to make a sled dog ready for racing in the Iditarod, and what that first run was really like.
We are featuring several books about sled dogs and mushing, and invite you to take a closer look at them, as you wait for the opening of the great Iditarod race.
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