Oregon photographer Ben Moon spent his dog's last day on the beach. This was the dog that had helped him battle cancer. Denali was his best friend. Moon's beautifully shot video of his canine companion's life is a fitting tribute to their friendship and will definitely move you to tears.
The short film
"Denali" won the Best of Festival award and the People's Choice award at
Colorado's 5Point Film Festival. The 40-year-old photographer was happy about
his film's success but even more thrilled with the film itself.
"It could have gone cheesy or too sappy or too sad, so
quickly," Moon told Today.com. "But [director Ben Knight] just nailed
Moon first met Denali in an animal shelter in 1999. The two
had been partners in crime for almost 15 years since that initial meeting.
"As soon as I passed him, he put his paw out, cocked
his head and kind of looked at me," Moon told Today.com. "He tore a
lap around the room, and then laid on my feet, rolled up on his back and
looked at me. It felt like he chose me."
Denali went everywhere with Moon, traversing the country in
his van and having adventures together. They hiked, camped, surfed and swam.
When Moon was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in June 2004 and admitted to the
hospital for treatment, Denali went, too.
"When he was in the hospital bed with me, he'd just
sort of step up there so gently, it was kind of mind-blowing," Moon told
Today.com. "He made sure he wasn't touching anything that was in pain and
not invade my space."
A week before Moon's birthday in April 2005, he received his
last treatment and was deemed cancer-free. To celebrate his renewed health,
Moon and Denali set off on more adventures, which can be seen on Moon's
Denali's health began to fade in recent years. He developed
respiratory and kidney problems, and he had four cancerous lumps removed from
his back and legs. Moon asked his canine pal to stay healthy for just one more
month, so he could film a tribute to him.
"That's when I promised him, 'Just let me know when
it's your time to go, man; I'm not going to let you suffer,'" Moon told
Today.com. "It felt like this grand reciprocation, because he had been
with me while I had gone through cancer."
Exactly one month later, Denali got a bad cough. Moon knew
that it was time. The very next day, he took Denali to the beach, and the two
had one final day together.
"This morning I said
goodbye to my best friend, after 14 1/2 years of sharing adventure at my side,"
Moon wrote. "However difficult the transition, it's cause for reflection and a
celebration of how much love and joy this incredible dog brought into my life."