If you haven't had a chance to see the new short film
produced by Patagonia called "Denali," it is the story of a life—a dog's life from a dog's perspective at the time of his death—you should. And so should
What could be seen as a terribly depressing 8-minute short
film is, instead, is a triumph of living in the here and now. "Denali" won both "People's
Choice" and "Best of Festival" awards at the 5 Point Film Festival for its
honest portrayal of the end of life, the strength of friendship and for its ability
to capture the love every boy has with his dog.
When my boys and I watched the film, we couldn't help but be
moved to tears. Our own dog, Colbie, is alive and well, but in the
2-and-a-half years he has been in our lives, the thought of not having him to
hike with, run with or snuggle on the couch with is more than we can imagine. I know
that losing him one day is inevitable. Our dog has become another child, though, a
baby, a fur-baby, and he is family.
As a child, learning to care for another living thing, to
walk him, feed him, help bring him to the vet when he is sick are lessons that
young men learn first by being a big brother to a dog. And the reward my sons
get from Colbie—cleaning of sticky hands and running
after them in the yard is priceless.
I can't be sure that Colbie knows how much we love him, but
I know how much he loves us. One of the best lines of "Denali" is, "There
was this really smart scientist guy who thought that people could learn a lot
from dogs. He said that when someone you love walks through the door, even if
it happens five times a day, you should go totally insane with joy."