Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Red Dog (2011)

If you love dog movies – and who doesn’t – Red Dog (2011) is one of its kind that takes you on the inspiring, real life story of a dog’s journey.

Directed by Kriv Stenders, this movie shows the true story of Red Dog, who lived in Western Australia in the 1970s. The movie however is set in the late 90s and starts with the arrival of a stranger in an Australian town. When he visits the town pub, he finds townsfolk trying to euthanizing a dog – Red Dog (played by Koko) which is when different people at the pub collectively narrate the story of the dog’s arrival in the town and finding a home there.

The movie’s inspiring moments come in the power of Red Dog to inspire love and bring townsfolk together, making them laugh, and making a difference in their lives. And while he is everyone’s dog, he picks his own master, a young man named John Grant (played by Josh Lucas). But when a tragedy strikes, the townsfolk come together once again to help him with the love and compassion he inspired in them.

Red Dog is a complete pet love movie with parallels to Hachi. What makes the canine hero of this movie extra special is not only his loyalty but the spirit of companionship across households with a sense of community. It’s a tearjerker and yet comes with a hopeful ending – which for spoiler reasons better be left to the viewers to enjoy.

The movie went on to win several awards and collected more than twice its budget at the box office, leading to a prequel in 2016 and a documentary in 2019.

Fun Fact: The real life owner of Red Dog was named John Stazzonelli. He wasn’t single but was going through divorce, and was dad to three young kids.

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Recovering The Self is a forum for people to tell their stories. Individual contributors accept complete responsibility for the veracity, accuracy, and non-infringement of their reporting.
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