If you’re on the lookout for a family-friendly film to cuddle up with during these cold, blizzardy days of winter, dim the lights, curl up on the sofa with your loved ones (including the fur babies), and look no further. Disney+ has you covered with its heartwarming new and true original film Togo, possibly the greatest feel-good movie of the year, and one that’s sure to leave you holding your pups a little tighter.
We’ve grown up hearing the tale of Balto, the dog with a Central Park statue made in his honor. An animal so celebrated, Disney even made a movie touting his bravery, endurance and passion for helping humans in their time of need. But as it turns out, we’ve been giving credit to the wrong four-legged “good boy.” The real heroes of the renowned Balto story? A free-spirited runt of the litter named Togo and his owner Leonhard Seppalla (who’s played by the wonderful Willem Dafoe).
In what Disney+ is calling the “untold true story,” this American drama not only highlights the incredible voyage one man and his nine Siberian Huskies made across 264 miles of dangerous Alaskan tundra in 1925, but it does so while showcasing the genuinely moving bond between man and man’s best friend.
In the midst of a diphtheria outbreak plaguing most of the children in the small city of Nome, Alaska, the town calls on the experienced musher (which is a fancy name for the person who drives a dogsled) Seppalla and his valiant lead sled dog Togo after all other methods of getting medicine to the city fails. With the storm of the century on the horizon, Seppalla and his team of huskies look toward the wind, hoping to cheat death and save the town.
The movie bounces back and forth between Togo’s puppy days and the harrowing journey from Nome to Fairbanks, which gives viewers a clearer picture of the relationship that blossomed between him and his owner throughout the years. Though Togo is a fierce sled dog and a beloved animal to the Seppalla household and the entire Nome community, his owner didn’t always see this potential in him.
As Seppalla and Togo near the end of their journey, there’s something positively divine and spiritual about seeing two old souls sledding for one last time together, something that causes your heart to smile from the inside out and tears to trickle down the sides of your cheeks.
With this riveting and emotional account of a runt turned history-maker, later to be named Time Magazine’s most heroic animal of all time, Disney+ and its new film Togo have restored great honor where it is due. All of this recognition finally rewarding him with his own statue in New York’s Seward Park.
Much like the little engine that could, Togo was the little dog who just wanted to run. Not out of obedience for his owners, but because of the abundant love he had for them.
That is a good boy.