The death of a beloved pet is always tough, but one man made sure he had something fitting to remember his by. Photographer Ben Moon and his pet Delani had spent 14 glorious years together, sharing a lifetime of great experiences—playing in the sea, on the beach, and walking in nature.
Towards the end of Delani's life when Moon knew his dog didn't have long left the photographer decided to make a film, something to honor Delani and a fitting tribute to their shared life.
"The footage for the film was shot towards the end of Denali’s days," Moon writes in a blog post about the project, "and it was truly magical to revisit the surf breaks and climbing areas he and I had shared over the past 14-plus years. Throughout Denali’s life, he constantly reminded me of the importance of being in nature."
The film is told from the dog's point of view and details how Delani was with Moon through the good times and the bad, like when Moon was diagnosed with cancer. As well as being a personal ode to what was obviously a very dear friend, it's also about the more universal experience of the unique and special bond that forms between a pet and their owner.
The last line of the film, "When someone you love walks through the door, even if it happens five times a day, you should go totally insane with joy" is taken from a short story praised by Moon.
It's written by David Dudley and called What Our Dogs Teach Us About Aging.
I am so excited to finally share the #DenaliFilm with you all! The response thus far has been nothing short of incredible and heartwarming... thank you. This was a challenging and deeply personal story for me to tell, so much gratitude to @ben_knight and @skiparmstrong for their friendship and talents in making a piece that exceeded even my most unreasonable expectations. Link is in my profile, please let me know what you think! foto circa 2002: @lisahensel Props to @patagonia @first_descents @ruffwear @snowpeakusa @clifbarcompany for their support in making this short film a reality.
Pretty excited that the #DenaliFilm is an official selection for @Mountainfilm this year! Honored to be opening for the #MeruFilm on Friday, May 22nd @ 6:15pm at the Sheridan Opera House. #mfilm15 foto: John Sterling Also screening on Sunday, May 24th at 3:30pm at High Camp. Who's making the trip to Telluride for #Mountainfilm?!
It's been a year since Denali passed on, I still miss that guy! My mom snapped this photo of us in '04 while I was in the hospital after cancer surgery. Denali never left my side during that intense year, and I was so grateful for his companionship and to the nurses who let him stay with me. #mansbestfriend
For me the holidays tend to bring about a lot of reflection... here's to embracing growth, transition, and getting out there in the upcoming year! (throwback to a couple of winters back on the Oregon coast)
Throwback to 2002 in Indian Creek, during the three years I lived on the road with Denali. I'm looking for old images of Denali and I that anyone has hiding in their archives, for a short film that is in the works about our time together. Any and all photos are welcome, especially between 2001--2005, while we were traveling in the van and during my battle with cancer. Please email them to [email protected], thanks so much! foto: @lisahensel
Rather than posting another "it's snowing in Portland!" photo, here's a #tbt in honor of Denali, an image of he and I reuniting in 2003 after my two month trip to Kauai, one of the rare instances when we were separated for more than a week or two. We both seem pretty stoked! Thank you all for the calls, texts, comments and messages of support this week--it means a lot and it's a testament to how many lives Denali truly touched. #mansbestfriend
Finally have a moment to reflect on images from the past couple weeks of filming--was a truly incredible experience, I'll share a few images soon. Here Denali revisits a favorite beach that he's been enjoying for over 14 years.
Denali 1999-2014 This morning I said goodbye to my best friend, after 14 1/2 years of sharing adventure at my side. 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. Thank you Denali for giving me the courage to hit the road with a camera, a van and no plan back in 2001, for never taking your eye off me through a year of cancer treatments, surgeries and countless other challenges. Thank you for your uncanny ability to walk into a frame at precisely the right moment to elevate an image, for teaching me patience and the joy in the simple quiet moments as I watched you grow older, and most of all, giving selflessly the unconditional love that only a true friend can give. It's impossible to put into words all that you were and will always be to me--I was always convinced you were more human than dog, and all of the countless lives you touched felt the same. Thank you for your unwavering belief in me, happy trails my friend! foto--Denali circa 2001, pondering the possibilities of the open road, somewhere in the west.