Is new Netflix movie Dog Gone based on a true story?

Rob Lowe in the poster for Dog Gone.Netflix

Dog Gone is a new movie launching on Netflix tomorrow – but is the family film about the search for a missing canine based on a true story?

Dog Gone is a new Netflix movie directed by Stephen Herek (Critters, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure), and starring Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Johnny Berchtold.

The film launches on Netflix tomorrow (January 13) with the official synopsis is as follows…

After a young man and his beloved dog are separated on the Appalachian Trail, he and his father must begin a desperate search to find him before it’s too late.

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Is Dog Gone based on a true story?

Yes, Dog Gone is based on a true story.

The dog in question was called Gonker, and went missing in October of 1998. The story of Fielding Marshall’s efforts to find him were first turned into a book in 2016, while screenwriter Nick Santora – who wrote Punisher: War Zone and created the Reacher TV series – has now turned it into a movie.

The actors are therefore playing real-life people, with Berchtold cast as Fielding Marshall, and Lowe and Williams-Paisley playing his parents John and Ginny.

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“A lost pet’s extraordinary journey”

The book about the true story on which the film is based is called Dog Gone: A Lost Pet’s Extraordinary Journey and the Family Who Brought Him Home. It was written by Pauls Toutonghi, and here’s how Penguin Random House describe it…

Dog Gone the novel.Penguin Random House

October 10, 1998. Fielding Marshall is hiking on the Appalachian Trail. His beloved dog – a six-year-old golden retriever mix named Gonker – bolts into the woods. Just like that, he’s vanished. And Gonker has Addison’s disease. If he’s not found in 23 days, he will die.Dog Gone is the story of the Marshall family – Fielding and his parents, John and Virginia – and their epic hunt to track down Gonker. As their search continues, covered by news outlets and drawing in the community at large, old wounds reemerge, threatening to undo the Marshalls – but also presenting the opportunity for long-overdue healing.

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What happened next…

We’re going to write about the end of the movie now, so BEWARE OF SPOILERS AHEAD…

Gonker doesn’t die, meaning he’s found at the end of the movie, turning up near a place called The Evergreen Lodge is West Virginia.

Via words onscreen, the film then explains what happened after Gonker returned from his great adventure. Underneath a picture of the real-life dog, the movie says “Gonker was never seperated from the Marshalls again.”

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As for his owner, the film states that “Fielding now lives in Chile, where he gives kayaking tours,” thereby achieving his dream of working outdoors in nature. Meaning everyone gets a happy ending.

Dog Gone hits Netflix tomorrow, while you can head here to read about every time Gonker is a good boy in the movie.

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