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Denali: The Friendship of a Lifetime

Denali: The Friendship of a Lifetime


Denali: A Man, a Dog, and the Friendship of a Lifetime

(Global Heart | Esther Haasnoot) Denali; a filmmaker’s tribute to his beloved and faithful dog. The film, Denali, is told from the dog’s point of view. It is sometimes even hilarious.

Denali is the story of a powerful bond between man and dog; it highlights the risks and rewards of loving with a full and open heart and the miraculous resilience we can conjure up with the help of friends.

Ben and Denali: A loving friendship that will transcend time.

The spirit of a dog is remarkable. Despite our less than noble nature, they seem to derive great joy just from being allowed to be in our company.

When Ben Moon moved to Oregon from the Midwest in November 1999, he had no intention of purchasing a dog. His partner had talked him into taking her to the shelter. Denali, believed to be a mix of pit bull and husky, was just two months old when the two met. Ben immediately felt a connection, and his friendship with Denali was born.

“As soon as I passed him, he stuck out his paw, tilted his head, and looked at me,” Ben said. “He walked around the room for a bit and then laid down on my feet, rolled over on his back, and looked at me. It felt like he chose me.”

After Ben’s relationship with his partner ended, Denali left the city and began a nomadic lifestyle. Few people were as adventurous and fit as Ben. He and Denali survived a freezing winter in a Subaru wagon, later upgraded to a camper. They did many outdoor activities. They toured western US states together, climbed mountains, camped, sailed, and in-between photographed mountain climbers and surfers. In short, they did whatever the free spirit of a nomad desires, and his career as an adventure photographer began.

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The two were inseparable for nearly 15 years. Their bond gets reinforced in June 2004, when doctors diagnosed Ben with colorectal cancer.

The selfless love of a dog

In June 2004, Ben noticed the first signs that something was wrong with his health. Despite the physical warnings, it takes him a long time to seek medical help, by which time the cancer was advanced.

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