Directed by Stephen Herek, ‘Dog Gone’ is a heartwarming and emotional 2023 Netflix family movie that tells the story of a family’s love and determination to find their beloved yellow Labrador Retriever, Gonker. The film follows the true-life events which occurred in the 1990s when Gonker, adopted by college student Fielding Marshall, gets lost on the treacherous and rugged Appalachian Trail.

Fielding is portrayed as a carefree young man who struggles to find himself and come to terms with the guilt of losing Gonker. He sets out on a journey to find his beloved companion, accompanied by his estranged father.

The film is a powerful and moving portrayal of the bond between man and man’s best friend. It tugs at the heartstrings of audiences everywhere and serves as a reminder that even in the darkest of times, hope and determination can lead us to find what we hold most dear.

Dog Gone (2023) Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis:

The film introduces us to Fielding Marshall (played by John Berchtold), who adopts a beautiful yellow Labrador Retriever named Gonker in an attempt to heal from a broken heart. Together with Gonker, Fielding experiences a lovely school year, but upon graduation, he discovers that his friends have somehow managed to secure great jobs, while he remains highly uncertain about his future. After graduation, Fielding moves back to his parents’ with Gonker.

Fielding’s father, John Marshall (played by Rob Lowe), is a successful businessman who is initially hesitant about Fielding’s decision to bring Gonker home. The estrangement between father and son begins when Fielding, who still struggles to find his passion, turns down his father’s offers to set him up for job interviews. This creates a rift between them as Fielding is convinced his father only considers him a disappointment.

John believes Fielding is not ready for caring for himself, much less a dog, and tries to put Gonker in a shock collar to prevent him from leaving their property. However, this does not work. Over time, the family forms a unique bond with Gonker, especially Fielding’s mum, Ginny (played by (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), who mourns the loss of her childhood dog (Oji). Sadly, Gonker begins exhibiting symptoms of fatigue, and he is diagnosed with Addison’s disease. He must be given a medical shot every 30 days to survive this.

Dog Gone Movie Ending Explained_High On Films

Ten days after his first shot, Fielding and his best friend Nate (played by Nick Peine) take Gonker on a hike on the Appalachian Trail, but the trio becomes separated and Gonker goes missing when he chases after a fox. The entire family panic as Fielding’s father, John, promises to help find Gonker and bring him home.

Fielding’s mother, Ginny, sets up a command center at their home, and with the help of family and friends, they search tirelessly for Gonker as they maximize social media and encounter unexpected support from strangers across the world.

As the days roll out, the search for Gonker becomes urgent, as he must be given his medication within 19 days. Meanwhile, Fielding attempts to hide his disease from his parents and almost dies.

Dog Gone (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:

Is Gonker found? Does Fielding Die?

On the 18th day, Fielding and his father return home after an unsuccessful search for their beloved dog. In the next scene, Fielding shares the devastating news of his health with his sister over the phone, telling her he believes he might be dying. In a state of panic, she urges him to tell their parents about his condition.

As Fielding prepares to inform his parents, the phone rings. It is a call from the Evergreen Lodge in Nellysford, informing them that a dog fitting Gonker’s exact description had been seen on the premises. The dog ate out of the garbage but refused to enter the building. On hearing this news, Fielding and his father immediately set out to Nellysford for an emotional and happy reunion with Gonker.

Sadly, upon arriving at their home with Gonker, Fielding collapses and is rushed to the hospital. There, he is diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and undergoes surgery. Though the operation was successful, Fielding must stay in the hospital for recovery. As he struggled to rest, he couldn’t help but miss his beloved companion, Gonker.

To bring Fielding a sense of peace and comfort during his difficult recovery, his parents secretly bring Gonker to the hospital to be reunited with him. The scene ends with Fielding embracing Gonker and calling him a “good boy” as he peacefully falls asleep.

The ending denotes the unbreakable bond between a family and their beloved companion and how that bond can bring people together and help heal past pain. It is also a story of responsibility and commitment and the importance of family and friends in times of need.

Read More: The 20 Best Dog Movies of all Time


Dog Gone Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia
Dog Gone Cast: Rob Lowe, Johnny Berchtold, Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Where to watch Dog Gone

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