A lost dog and the family who strived to find him.
For anyone who's ever connected with a pet, the loss of the animal can be devastating. Gonker was a golden retriever with a serious illness, Addison's disease. If he didn't receive a hormone shot on a monthly basis, he would die. So when he took off into the woods along a stretch of the Appalachian Trail, his owner, Fielding Marshall, was naturally distraught. Toutonghi (English/Lewis & Clark Coll.; Evel Knievel Days, 2012, etc.) retells the family story about the days spent searching for Gonker. He also provides an incredible amount of back story to this tale, starting with Fielding's mother, Virginia, her childhood, and the dog she loved as a young girl. Because she was so deeply invested in her own dog and mourned his untimely death for years, when Virginia found out Gonker was missing, she set up a command station in her home and contacted practically anyone she could think of in a massive radius around the area where Gonker had gone missing. Fortunately, her efforts paid off, and Gonker was discovered just in time. Just as prominent as the story about Gonker are the reflections and memories of Virginia's alcoholic mother and the abuse she suffered by her hand, the dogs she owned as an adult, and the fears and concerns she had about raising her young family. These are coupled with Fielding's own childhood moments with his sister, his young adulthood, a broken heart, and an undiagnosed illness. Like many family stories, the writing meanders far and wide, and its impact may be more important to the family than to readers. However, the author shows the deep respect and love a family can have toward a faithful, friendly canine companion.
Honest reflections on a beloved dog that went missing and the frantic search to find him. For more universally interesting dog stories, turn to Jon Katz.