What's the Difference between A Dog's Journey the Book and A Dog's Journey the Movie?


A Dog's Journey

Released: 2012
Author: W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog's Journey

Released: 2019
Director: Gail Mancuso
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In the Book In the Movie
This Character does not appear.
Ethan Montgomery
Portrayed by: Dennis Quaid
Hannah Montgomery
Hannah Montgomery
Portrayed by: Marg Helgenberger
Gloria Mitchel
Gloria Mitchel
Portrayed by: Betty Gilpin
Clarity June "CJ" Montgomery
Clarity June "CJ" Montgomery
Portrayed by: Kathryn Prescott
Portrayed by: Henry Lau
Portrayed by: Jake Manley
A Dog's Journey Book vs Movie
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This Spoils the Ending
In the Book In the Movie
   The story in the book spans about 70 to 80 years from CJ as an infant until her death in old age. The film spans about 30 years from CJ as an infant until her middle age years.
   Ethan Montgomery died in the previous book; A Dog's Purpose. Ethan Montgomery is still alive and an important supporting character.
   Bailey saves CJ from being trampled by a horse and after she falls into the pond. Gloria thinks Bailey pushed CJ into the pond. Bailey saves CJ from being trampled by the horse. Ethan scolds Gloria for not watching her.
   Gloria and Henry (Hannah's son) are separated and she fears losing her child support if she leaves CJ with Hannah while leaving to look for work. Henry later dies and leaves CJ money in trust. Ethan and Hannah offer to care for CJ while Gloria tries to find work. She gets mad and leaves with CJ. CJ's dad Henry (Hannah's son) died in an accident prior to the event of the film. CJ has money in trust for her as an adult.
   Hannah brings Bailey to the vet about his leg and is told he is dying. He is euthanized at the vet's office. Ethan does not appear in the book and no one knows that Bailey is being re-born through-out the book. Before Bailey is euthanized (cancer in his abdomen), Ethan asks him to keep an eye on CJ in his next life. The vet comes to the farm to put Bailey down.
   The dog is re-born as Molly. A teenaged CJ adopts Molly; her friend Trent adopts a puppy he names Rocky. CJ is attached to Molly right away as Molly seemed to choose her. The dog is reborn as Molly. She is the last one adopted. He sees CJ as a ten year old girl at the home and runs to her. CJ adopts her; she lies that her mother Gloria likes dogs. CJ sneaks Molly into her home. A boy named Trent adopts a Puppy named Rocky. They train the puppies together.
   CJ hides Molly in the house until her mom goes away for work. Goria nearly discovers Molly in the house, but CJ is able to get Trent to take her for a while. Gloria discovers Molly after the truant officer confronts her about CJ missing school. CJ and Gloria argue a lot over Molly and how poor a mother Gloria is. Gloria eventually discovers Molly in her house. CJ argues with her mom and is able to keep the dog after she says Molly protects her when Gloria leaves CJ alone at home most nights.
   CJ gave Shane a key to a classroom at school to look at an art exam. He actually stole computers and CJ was arrested for it. Gloria neglected Molly while CJ was in juvenile jail. Trent brought Molly home with him. CJ is suspended from school. She is sent to help train service dogs as community service. a woman named Andie trains the dogs to signal if they smell cancer on a person. Molly learns by watching the other dogs and for treats. CJ is at a party with Shane that is busted by the police. She is separated from Molly who ends up at the pound. Trent rescues her from the pound. CJ is assigned community service at a kennel where dogs are trained to detect cancer. Molly learns from the other dogs how to signal. She is rewarded for it.
   At a party, Molly smells cancer on a woman and signals. CJ tells the guest that she might have cancer; she leaves the party upset. This makes Gloria mad. This does not happen in the film.
   Gloria's boyfriend tries to molest CJ, Molly attacks him. Gloria blames CJ for losing another boyfriend. This does not happen in the film.
   This does not happen. Ethan died in the previous novel, “A Dog's Purpose”. No one ever recognizes the dog from its other lives. Ethan and Hannah visit Gloria. They stop by to drop off some of Henry's things. Gloria does not want them around. Ethan recognizes Molly as Bailey from her antics. Ethan tells Molly to keep looking after CJ.
   This does not happen in the book. Shane is abusive to CJ. Molly bites him. Shane threatens to kill Molly.
   Gloria and CJ argue. Gloria wants to get rid of Molly. CJ threatens to tell the court how poor a mother Gloria is and get her thrown in jail. Gloria first tries to poison molly, then brings her to a dog shelter claiming the dog is lost. Molly is chipped; CJ is called and picks up Molly and learns Gloria brought her to the shelter. This does not happen in the film.
   CJ runs away from home after rescuing Molly. Her car is vandalized. She is arrested after running from the police; she is brought back home to Gloria. CJ finds out the house is in foreclosure and her trust money is gone as Gloria used it for her luxury life-style She is driving to Trent's house when Shane rams into her car. Molly dies when CJ's car rolls over. When CJ says she wants to leave home, Gloria says the insurance money is gone. Gloria used the money to support her lifestyle. CJ is left with nothing. CJ takes her mom's car and leaves with Molly. Shane rams into her; CJ collides with another car and flips her car. Molly dies in the accident.
   CJ is bulimic; for years she vomits up her meals to lose weight which she usually gains back. She is not.
   This does not happen. Bailey is reborn as a large mastiff named Big Dog. He lives with Joe who owns a small store. He meets CJ in the store one day and shakes her hand even though Joe never taught him to shake. CJ leaves, the dog chases after her but stops after a while. Big Dog has a happy life with Joe, but grows old and wanders away to die.
   The dog is re-born as a small yorkie mix. He is sees CJ and runs away to her. The dog is re-born as a small yorkie mix. He is mean to everyone as he is waiting for CJ to find him.
   CJ is living in Barry's apartment and taking care of his dog Duke while he is out promoting a boxer's tour. CJ is also the mistress of a man named Gregg. When Barry returns home, CJ has two weeks to find her own place. She moves into a tiny apartment. Gregg dumps CJ when she refuses to go on a short notice trip with him. He is also not going to leave his wife. CJ introduces max to her boyfriend Barry's dog Duke. CJ is a dog walker and practices on her guitar. Max hates Barry; he chews his shoes and poops/pees in his apartment. By this time even Barry's dog Duke has turned against him. CJ leaves Barry but is homeless.
   CJ is evicted from her tiny apartment. She tells Trent she has to go home to her mother and leaves Max with him. She actually tries to kill herself with pills and antifreeze. This does not happen in the film.
   Trent and Max visit her at the hospital and later brings her home to stay in his apartment guest room. His girlfriend already broken up with him. CJ sees Trent on the street and avoids him. Max runs away from CJ and to Max. Trent and his girlfriend (Liesl) talk to CJ; she is embarrassed to see him as she is homeless. Trent allows her to stay with him in his guest bedroom.
   Trent gets cancer (CJ recognizes Max's signal as being like Molly's) after he is married to CJ later on. He had already broken up with his previous girlfriend prior to CJ moving in. Trent comes home very tired one day. Max smells cancer on him and sits crossed legged like he did at the cancer research facility. CJ recognizes that Trent may have a problem and tells him to see a doctor. Trent's girlfriend can't handle this so she leaves him.
   Gloria never changes and never asks to be in CJ's life again. CJ does not perform in public. Trent recovers from his cancer. CJ meets her mom. Gloria has changed; she is no longer drinking. She apologizes to CJ and asks to be a part of her life again. CJ is hesitant. CJ takes her mother's advice and performs at a club. Her music is well received.
   Trent takes CJ to visit Hannah and her family at the farm. They have a very nice visit. CJ and Trent try to visit Gloria, but she had moved away the year before. Trent and CJ marry soon after. Trent drives CJ and Max to meet a very elderly Ethan and Hannah. Max runs into the house and meets Ethan. They do not recognize CJ at first. Ethan insists on calling CJ's dog Bailey. Hannah talks about how Ethan thinks every dog in their life is a re-incarnated Bailey.
   This does not happen in the book. Ethan convinces CJ that Max is the re-born Bailey.
   CJ cannot have children due to her failing kidneys due to her attempted suicide. CJ eventually needs dialysis. CJ and Trent get married and have a baby. Gloria is back in their lives and everyone is happy.
   Ethan does not appear in the book. Max dies soon after Trent recovers from cancer. Ethan dies of old age while Max lies next to him. Max eventually dies of old age several years later.
   The dog is reborn as a beagle named Toby. He is adopted by a nun who trains him to be a therapy dog at a nursing home, Toby sits with people and keeps them calm. He can sense when they are near death. Max goes to doggie heaven. He is seen running through a field appearing as he had in his past lives. He knows that loving people is his purpose and loving them forever was his reward. He sees Ethan in heaven and plays with him.
   Gloria enters the nursing home suffering from dementia. CJ, now an old woman herself helps care for her mother. Gloria never had a heart warming reunion with CJ. Toby is reunited with CJ. Trent died a few years ago. CJ had a kidney transplant that lasted 20 years but is now back on dialysis, This does not happen in the film.
   Eventually Gloria dies. Years later CJ enters the nursing home as a patient. She ends her own life by stopping dialysis. She dies with Toby by her side never knowing he was Molly, or Max. This does not happen in the film.
   Toby lived for a while longer then became sick from old age and was euthanized. He entered doggie heaven and saw all the important people in his previous lives including Ethan, Hannah, Andie, CJ, Jakob and the others he loved and saved. The dog only meets Ethan in heaven.
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