Everybody knows Balto the Wonder Dog. One of Johnny Carson’s go-to punchlines, Balto - or at least a bronze statue version of Balto - can be found in New York’s Central Park. Real Balto, stuffed and preserved, is in Cleveland, Ohio. People are fascinated by this dog because it led the way when a lifesaving antitoxin had to be rushed in to Nome, completely isolated from the outside world, because a diphtheria epidemic was killing the residents.
Gunnar Kassen led a team of Siberian huskies with the rookie-lead Balto at the front of the pack through the Alaskan wilderness to reach Nome. Over the final 50-plus miles, the dogs were met with temperatures below 60 degrees below zero Fahrenheit and 70 mph winds. After the delivery, the heroic dogs toured the continental United States.
But Balto wasn’t the only dog. Togo the Wonder Dog, another one of the Siberian huskies that was part of the team that delivered the antitoxin to Nome, is stuffed and lives inside of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Gift Shop/Museum in Wasilla, Alaska. Balto received all of the fame because he was a rookie, but many thought it must have been the seasoned Togo who led the group to Nome and back.