Is the movie Dog Gone based on a True Story?

By Adam Lock
Published: January 17, 2023 (Last updated: January 28, 2023)

Is the movie Dog Gone based on a True Story? In this article, we discuss the popular Netflix Original film. 

Everybody loves a feel-good movie, and everybody loves dogs (I’m assuming, I mean, what’s not to love, right?), so it comes as no surprise to find that Netflix’s original feature-length Dog Gone (2023) has made its way into the top 10 films list on the streaming site. This inspirational tale, starring Rob Lowe, tells the story of a father and his son who go looking for their missing pet dog Gonker, repairing their own troubled relationship along the way, while creating a media buzz in the process. Those that have watched and enjoyed this heartfelt drama will now be interested to know if the movie is based on a true story.

Is the movie Dog Gone based on a True Story?

Yes, Dog Gone is based on a true story. The film, directed by Stephen Herek (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and written by Nick Santora (Reacher), is actually an adaptation of a 2017 book, which is in turn based on a true, honest-to-God story.

The trailer and the opening credits highlight this salient fact, stating that the film is ‘based on true events.’ In addition, over on Netflix, the film is also to be found in the ‘films based on real life’ category to further hammer the point home. Fans that were eager to find out if the narrative is actually authentic will be happy to discover that this crazy story actually took place in real life. If you want to find out more about this shocking true story, it might even be worth checking out the novel this film is adapted from.

What story is Dog Gone based on?

The film is based on a book by Pauls Toutonghi, called The Dog Gone: A Lost Pet’s Extraordinary Journey and the Family Who Brought Him Home — catchy title, right?

Released back in 2017, this heart-warming novel recounts the true story of a beloved family pet that goes missing whilst out on a hike with its owner on the Appalachian Trail, in 1998. Graduate Fielding Marshall fears that his dog Gonker won’t survive for long without his life-saving medication that needs to be administered on a monthly basis, as he has Addison’s disease. This disappearance forces the Marshall family to search for Gonker along the Trail and soon news outlets gain interest, hoping to cover the emotive story.

The author of this novel is the real-life brother-in-law of Fielding Marshall, and he is quoted as saying that he wanted to tell the story of his wife’s family and their missing pooch because it addressed many powerful themes and the disappearance had such a huge impact on the family overall. It was originally going to be written as a Christmas present to the family, but he soon realized the story’s greater potential.

What kind of dog breed is in the movie Dog Gone?

In the film, Gonker is played by a yellow Labrador, but in real life, the canine was a six-year-old mixed Golden Retriever. It is unclear why they decided to change breed, but both are similar in appearance. There is another key dog to be found in the movie as well. In flashbacks, the film explores Ginny’s relationship with her childhood dog Oji, which is an Akita, a breed of dog originally found in the mountains of Northern Japan.

Where was Dog Gone filmed?

Dog Gone was filmed in the state of Georgia, USA. Principal photography took place specifically in and around the surrounding area of Atlanta, Georgia in the fall of 2021. The crew also filmed on location in Stone Mountain, Conyers, Powder Springs, Riverdale, and along the Appalachian Trail itself. The film depicts some breathtaking pieces of scenery and makes the most of Georgia’s picturesque landscape.

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