The Nome Serum Run

 In 1925, a remote town was saved from lethal disease by dogs

The town of Nome was faced with a diphtheria outbreak and no treatment, and it was cut off in the depths of a brutal Alaskan winter

  Siberian huskies were bred to handle the cold (Credit: Arctic Images/Alamy)

Siberian huskies were bred to handle the cold (Credit: Arctic

By Louise Crane

They say dogs are our best friends. Sometimes, they are our saviours.

In 1925, the small Alaskan town of Nome was in the throes of a deadly diphtheria epidemic. To save the town’s inhabitants, 20 teams of sled dogs transported a vital anti-toxin over 674 miles (1,085km) of ice and snow, in just six days, through the most brutal winter conditions for decades.

Of the dogs that took part in the Nome Serum Run, the most celebrated were two Siberian huskies named Balto and Togo. Today dogs like these compete in epic sled races, outperforming many of the greatest human athletes. They are the fastest land mammal for distances over 10 miles (16km).

How do they do it? Read more.