Togo

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The new Disney Plus streaming service has been a huge hit for The Walt Disney Company. People love that they can go watch movies that shaped their childhood with the click of a button. Disney Plus has about everything you could think of; Star Wars, Marvel, Princess movies, Documentaries, and all sorts of movies and shows. Now there is a movie I recently discovered that seems to be flying below the radar, and has not received a lot of attention. This would be the movie Togo, based on the true story of the 1925 serum run to Nome.

In the little town of Nome, a diphtheria outbreak occurs, which took a devastating tole on the children of the town. The only way to stop the outbreak was by acquiring a serum that is located in the city of Nenana, which is 674 miles away. The mayor of Nome originally plans on the serum being flown to the town, but due to hazardous conditions, flying the serum in was impossible.

So the town decided to turn to musher Leonhard Seppala, and his lead dog Togo. Leonhard was Norwegian-American sled dog breeder and trainer on top of being a musher, and was well known for being the best of the best. His lead dog Togo, had quite a story to becoming one of the best sled dogs in history.

In 1913, Togo was born into the care of Seppala and his wife Constance. However, Togo was the runt of the litter, and Seppala saw no potential at all from the weak, little pup. Constance constantly urged her husband to give the pup a chance, and raise him with the rest of the dogs. Seppala still did not want anything to do with the dog, and even attempted to give him away twice, but the dog always ended up coming back to Seppala. Togo was a handful for Seppala, and he became an expert at digging his way out of the kennels and chasing down Seppala’s dog team while they were out training.

Seppala finally decided to give Togo his chance on the team, and to his surprise, little Togo was outrunning all of his top sled dogs. That is when Seppala realized that Togo wasn’t a sled dog, but a lead dog. At that moment, Seppala named the little pup Togo, after the Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō.

From there on, Togo and Seppala became two pees and a pod, and Togo even lead the team to win the All Alaska Sweepstakes, which game them local fame.

When the diphtheria outbreak hit Nome, Togo was 12 years old, and Constance became very concerned about Seppala having him lead the long journey. In the end, Seppala believed the pup had one more trip in him, and Seppala and his team of dogs made their journey through stormy weather. Seppala went on for miles and miles, and even ended up taking a dangerous shortcut across the frozen Norton Sound. After crossing the Sound, Seppala luckily runs into Henry Ivanov, a fellow musher, who is carrying the serum, which Seppala was not notified of. Within the next day, Seppala and his team are on their way back to Nome.

Seppala takes the Sound once again, but this time Togo has to pull a piece of ice, that Seppala and the rest of the team are stuck on, to land because the Sound begins to crack. When the team reaches an outpost, a Native American doctor there informs Seppala that Togo is dying, and cannot take much more. Refusing to give up on his lead dog, Seppala has his team make one more push to a place called “Joe Dexter’s outpost.”

From there, the serum is passed on to musher Gunnar Kassen, who brings the serum into Nome, and a reporter tells the public that Kassen, and his lead dog Balto, are the ones who saved Nome.

To figure out what happens in the end to Togo and Seppala, I’ll let you watch the movie to see the ending of this story. The movie Togo was given a 92% ratting from Rotten Tomatoes and received a lot of great reviews. Togo is one of those dog movies that gets you a little teary eyed towards the end, and keeps you on your toes, not knowing what will happen to the sled dog that saved a city.