Red Dog is a 2011 Australian family film based on a true story about an Australian Red Kelpie who found widespread fame as a result of his habit of travelling all over Western Australia. In 2011 it was nominated in nine categories and won seven including Best Feature Film from Inside Film Awards.
The movie starts out slow in the beginning but quickly draws you in to Red Dog’s world. It’s not about a dog that did something heroic or selfless. It’s not about a dog that was really cute or could do amazing tricks. It's about a real dog who brought together a town. It’s a testament to that rare love and loyalty only a dog can show for his one, true master.
The story begins when a passing trucker stops and discovers several men trying to put down Red Dog because he has been poisoned with strychnine. No one can do it so they call the vet who does what little he can to ease the dog’s pain. The many miners and friends who know Red Dog have gathered at the local bar to be there for Red Dog and while waiting begin to tell the trucker their own stories of Red Dog.
Red Dog showed up one day in Dampier, Australia and befriended many of the employees of Hamersley Iron. He was a dog for everyone because he refused to belong to any one person as he spent his days visiting with different people.
Until an American named John Grant arrived in town. Red Dog chose him as his master and from that point on they were always together. One night John leaves telling Red Dog to stay home. Early the next morning John dies in an accident before reaching home.
Red Dog was found three days later still waiting where John had told him to stay. Several weeks then passed when Red Dog decided to look for John and began his search of every place John was known to go until all of Dampier was explored. Not giving up he then continued to search across the entire western half of Australia hitching rides over thousands of miles, settling in places for months at a time and adopting new families before heading off again to the next destination and another family sometimes returning to say hello years later. There is even a rumor he flew by plane to Japan in search of John.
Eventually the grief stricken dog returns to Dampier. The caretakers of the local caravan park didn’t allow dogs and threaten to shoot him but are sent packing by John's friends who have garnered the town's support for Red Dog. A funny story is that they left their cat, Red Cat, who then got into a huge physical fight with Red Dog. Afterwards it was said the two became great friends often seen walking about town together.
Back to present time the miners get into a discussion of why they should have a statue of the twon founder (William Dampier) set in their town when all he ever did was say there were too many flies. They decide they should erect a statue of someone who truly represents the town – Red Dog. During this, Red Dog disappears. Everyone begins searching for him eventually finding him lying dead in front of John's grave. With his last breath he had finally found his master.
One year later the town celebrates the unveiling of a statue of Red Dog which is still there to this day.
Note: Koko, the four-legged star of hit film Red Dog, died in Perth today. The charismatic red cloud kelpie who won the hearts of Australians in the feelgood blockbuster died of a congestive heart disease that was diagnosed earlier this year. He was seven years old.