MBTI Type: ISTP
Seppala is extremely logical and emotionally detached; he sees his dogs as “working dogs, not pets,” and at first has no place for Togo. Since he is wild, uncontrollable, and digs out of his pen, Seppala tries to give him away, to no avail. It’s only when he figures out, as he’s testing the dog with the sled, that he “outruns every other dog… he’s not a sled dog, he’s a lead dog!” Everyone in town agrees that only Sepppala can make that run and return alive through the mountains in the dead of winter, in the middle of a blizzard. Sepppala is able to quickly react in intense situations, finding the strength and leadership to save his dogs from falling over a cliff by directing Togo to “pull.” He also decides to shave twenty miles off his route, by crossing a half-frozen river—a risky venture that almost claims his life. He trusts his dogs to find their way to shelter, even when he has lost visibility. Sepppala manages somehow to hear another musher’s dogs and finds his way back to him, to transfer the vaccine. At first, Sepppala’s Ni resists seeing any good in Togo, but then it blossoms upon him that the very traits he resents in this little runt are those needed for leadership! He has a “sense” given the weather of how bad the storm will be, and tells the others they should listen to their animals, who have more common sense than humans. Though he takes the dogs under dangerous conditions to fetch the diphtheria vaccine, Seppala knows he can competently problem-solve on the trail. He figures things out as he goes, and continually under-estimates his own emotional attachment to his dog. His wife warns him that he is “fonder of that dog” than he knows, and that it will “devastate him” if anything happens to Togo. Under pressure, he becomes increasingly emotional and protective of his dog, lashing out at others and then apologizing for it, storming out of the room when a child asks if Togo is going to live. Seppala airs his Fe frustrations as he works, telling the dog his rightful place, complaining about his wife being too emotional, etc. Later, he risks his life to bring the vaccine home for children that “we know.”
Enneagram: 8w9 sp/so
Sepppala does not respect weakness in anyone else, much less himself. He thinks his wife’s attempts to mollycoddle Togo as a puppy are foolish, since he is “a runt, and of no good to anyone.” Grumpily, he asks, “What will he bring to the breed, even if he survives?” He takes Togo’s power struggles with him as a pup with irritation, finding ways to attempt to keep him out of trouble—and it’s only when Togo proves to him several times that he is intelligent that Sepppala begins to respect him. He pushes himself, and his dogs, too hard… and only stops when it is almost too late. He becomes angry when others try and get him to ease up, or rest his dogs for longer, because that, in his mind, is a sign of weakness. But Sepppala is also the person the town turns to, when they need a hero who fears nothing. Out he goes, into the snow. And back he comes, walking and carrying his beloved dogs. His 9 wing wants a quieter life away from civilization and takes comfort in ihis daily routines. He can also be stubborn in resisting others’ influence.