If there’s one thing Netflix’s ‘Gunther’s Millions’ makes clear, it’s that a German Shepherd really does have an estate worth $500 million despite all the different claims regarding his inheritance. In other words, the canine did truly land a trust fund in 1992, following which he began establishing ventures or investing to such an extent that he now has an empire at his feet (well, paws). Gunther’s handler Maurizio Mian is the one to technically helm it all, yet the dog is at the front and center — a fact proven by their original music record/album. So here’s what we know about it.
Did Gunther Really Have an Album?
Although Gunther III acquired his millionaire legacy in 1992 with the stipulation it would go down his bloodline, his actual story begins around 1984 when he was battling a rare chronic disease. The truth is he didn’t even belong to the “German Countess” who supposedly left him everything upon her death; he was the loved family pet of Maurizio’s girlfriend at the time, Antonella Signorini. In fact, as revealed in the documentary series, the whole narrative of Countess Carlotta Von Liebenstein is a mere publicity stunt — the original money came from the Mians to avoid high taxes.
Coming back to Gunther, it devastated both Maurizio and Antonella when they learned of his ailment, especially since its treatment was known to leave patients’ bones fragile as a side effect. That’s when the former decided to make use of his position as a qualified researcher at his family’s pharmaceutical business to invent a medication to treat canine bones without significant issues. He actually succeeded and got thrust into the limelight as a “miracle” worker, only for it to ultimately result in Gunther evolving into the center of all his aspirations which led to the Gunther Fund.
However, ostensibly before this whole rich dog narrative ever came to be, the Gunther Group was established in 1990 with the sole aim of raising awareness regarding all kinds of animal matters. This group comprised personalities from several professional sectors having an affinity towards pets/dogs/Gunther, resulting in their first plan of action being a record representing their mission. ‘Wild Dog – Hymn to Joy’ was thus produced by Maurizio and actually featured Gunther III as a performer, along with Miko Mission as the singer, Jordan Cattonar on the drums, Maurizio Nuti on Keyboards, Gino Zandonà as a guitarist, and Rubix as well as Patrizia as backing vocalists.
Moreover, as this entire record was dedicated to him, the cover of its vinyl reportedly relayed Gunther’s complete story until that moment, from his chronic illness to Maurizio’s deep involvement. It read, in part, “About six years ago, Gunther was struck by pemphigus…that would lead him to death in a short time. His owner Antonella had him examined by the best veterinarians and dermatologists, and Gunther was cured. Unfortunately, however… as it often happens in these cases, Gunther suffers the serious side effects and, after a short time, is struck by osteoporosis,” just for his now-handler to heal him.
“Bob Dylan, The Beatles, John Lennon. Singers who expressed very strong, very important themes,” the latter said in the Netflix production while speaking of “the anthem of joy.” “Wild Dog itself was a record with important themes… To be honest, the album was not a commercial success. If it had been, perhaps the world would be a better place.” That’s because, according to Italian journalist Massimo Marini, for Maurizio, “the project [had] purpose, that of sending a message about men and animals living in full serenity and synergy. A utopian world in some ways.”
Read More: Who Was Maria Gabriella Gentili? How Did Maurizio Mian’s Mom Die?