Dog Gone: the true story of Fielding Marshall and Gonker

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Dog Gone is a movie released on Netflix in 2023, directed by Mark Stouffer. An emotional tale about a young guy who lost his dog and begins a long search with his family, restoring the bond with his father, until the happy ending. The movie is based on actual events, and people wonder how the true story differs from the film, if Fielding Marshall really exists and what happened to his lost dog Gonker. Let’s discover all answers in this article.

You can watch the official trailer for Dog Done here on Youtube.

Dog Gone: the true story of Fielding Marshall and his lost dog Gonker

The movie Dog Gone is based on the true story of Fielding Marshall and his lost dog Gonker. The dog ran away in 1998 while hiking with Fielding on the Appalachian Trail. The film loyally reflects the truth in this part, and the dog’s disease is also true: Gonker suffered from Addison’s disease and really needed monthly injections to survive. As the movie shows, the dog got lost ten days after his last injection, leaving about 20 days to find him before his condition worsened.

The search occurred like the movie shows: Fielding and his father were out every day, looking for the dog, while his mother stayed home, contacting animal hospitals, police stations, and newspapers. The story of Gonker got actually covered by the local newspapers and the Associated Press news.

Gonker was found about 15 days later, a bit earlier than what we see in the movie Dog Gone. A police officer called the family from Wintergreen in the middle of the night; Fielding drove there the morning after and finally reunited with his dog. Gonker covered 111 miles in 15 days.

One of the main differences between the movie and the true story is the reason why Fielding got Gonker, in 1991: not to overcome a breakup, like the film wants to intend, but as a way to deal with a vast grief. Fielding’s baby daughter died a few weeks before during a complicated operation, and as a reaction, his girlfriend left him without a word. In a desperate attempt to deal with his sadness, Fielding decided to get a dog and became very connected to Gonker.

Also, the sickness Fielding Marshall shows in the movie, during the days he spent looking for Gonker, is fictional: the ulcerative colitis that almost killed him was a symbol of how dedicated he was in that period, putting anything else in the background, hoping to find the dog as soon as possible.

A curious detail about the true story behind the movie Dog Gone is that the film is based on the book Dog Gone: A Lost Pet’s Extraordinary Journey and the Family Who Brought Him Home, written by the American author Pauls Toutongh and published in 2016: Pauls is the husband of Fielding Marshall’s sister and decided to write a book about his story after his wife shared with him what happened.

What’s true, on the other side, is Fielding Marshall’s passion for kayaking: after Gonker died, in 2003, Fielding moved to Chile, where he met Soma, the girl who would become his wife. Fields and Soma now have two children and a project they run together, Mystic Retreats, which offers “unforgettable adventures to regenerate and energize your body, mind, and soul.” They also have a new dog, of course.

Read other true stories behind movies and TV series on Auralcrave