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How This Amazing Short Film Got My Sons Thinking

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 your kids.

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.

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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."

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When Denali dies in the film, it is the loss of family. While it hurts, it is also beautiful in the love that is left in its place. A lesson for kids and for us all.

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Image via vimeo/Denali

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