It’s no surprise that Dog Gone (2023), an original feature-length film produced by Netflix, has made it into the top 10 films available on the streaming service. Everyone enjoys a feel-good movie, and everyone loves dogs
. Starring Rob Lowe, this uplifting narrative is about a father and son who set out to find their lost dog, Gonker, and in the process mend their own broken relationship while generating media interest. Those who have seen and appreciated this moving drama are likely wondering if it is based on a true story.
Is The Movie Dog Gone Based On A Real Event?
An actual story served as inspiration for Dog Gone. The film is based on a 2017 novel that was inspired by a real-life event, and it was directed by Stephen Herek (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and written by Nick Santora (Reacher).
The trailer and opening titles both emphasize the film’s authenticity by noting that it is “based on genuine events.” Netflix also categorizes the movie under “films based on actual life” to drive home the idea. Readers who have been wondering if the story is true will be relieved to learn that the events it describes did, in fact, occur. The novel from which this film was adapted tells the full, shocking narrative, and is worth reading if you want to know more.
How Close To The Actual Events Is The Movie Dog Gone?
Some liberties were taken with the original story in order to make Dog Gone a more entertaining picture. In an effort to win over a girl, senior Fielding Marshall (Johnny Berchtold) adopts a yellow lab retriever and calls it Gonker.
The true tragedy of Fielding Marshall’s life was revealed in a 1991 New York Post article: the father adopted a golden retriever mix after his newborn daughter died in the operating room and the baby’s mother abandoned the family.
You Might Like Also:
- Who Is Vivian Kent Based On: Why Was Vivian Kent Dropped From Bloomberg?
- Who Is Shrek Based On: Acromegaly Was Maurice Official Medical Diagnosis
As is common with films based on true stories, the movie updates the plot to the present day rather than the 1990s and speeds up the timeline of actual events. In real life, Marshall spent years with Gonker after adopting him, before he went away. The actual Gonker, as depicted in the movie, suffered from Addison’s disease and needed monthly injections of synthetic hormones to maintain his health.
That means when Johnny ran away one day in October 1998, on the Appalachian Trail, Marshall had less than a month to find him, in order to find him alive. Let’s take a look at Dog Gone Breed in the next paragraph.
Dog Gone Features Which Breed?
While a yellow Labrador is used in the film, Gonker was actually a six-year-old Golden Retriever mix. They look very similar, but the reasoning behind the breed swap is unknown. There’s also another important canine character in the film. There are flashbacks to Ginny’s childhood with her dog Oji, an Akita, a breed native to the highlands of Northern Japan.
It is true that the actual Marshall’s parents helped him search far and wide for his dog, and that hunt was picked up by the local media. In the movie, though, the hunt explodes on social media and becomes an international endeavor, with people in Zambia chipping in to help.
This was not the situation in real life it was the ’90s, thus no social media, and the story of Gonker’s escape was not picked up by the national news until he was located on October 25, 1998, after 15 days away from home.
You Might Like Also: