This exquisitely done video is a tribute piece by photographer Ben Moon. The story is a beautiful, touching tribute to his old dog Denali, who at the age of 14 passed away last year of cancer. It’s a story Ben chose to tell from his friend’s perspective; Denali the Dog’s view of life, love, loyalty and friendship. It is also a story of irony, as Ben himself is a cancer survivor – for now.  It is always “for now” with cancer…

Most of the times in life, we get the bull. When you do, you eat steak.  But eventually, sooner or later life gives you the horns.  The swan song.  The big goodbye.  For my old dog, 15 year old Australian Cattle Dog “Ruby Pearl,” that time came only a week ago.  I know the loss Ben Moon feels.  Tears still swell my eyes.  Last Wednesday, my old dog Pearl gave up and quit eating.  By Friday it was all over.  She and I both sensed the end was near about two weeks back. We  communicated that way, my old dog and I.

I guess she decided her time was done chasing skunks and dancing for her supper. Pearl always greatly anticipated the daily food bowl rituals. My old dog hardly missed anything, but never missed a meal.  Like Denali, Pearl was also a stray.  A Navajo Nation discard. A res dog my wife rescued at about six months old, and named “Ruby Pearl.”  My old dog never did loose that stray dog hunger, even after fourteen and a half years as our well fed hound.

Pearl had a total distain for cameras

My old dog Pearl had a total distain for cameras.

 

 

Your camera would get one glance, then she'd turn away.

Your camera may get one frame, if you are lucky, then like most Navajo reservation natives, my old dog  would immediately turn away.

I’d have loved to have made a great movie like Denali with my old dog before she passed.  She was every bit as heroic as Denali, just as loyal, and my old dog was absolutely as loving. Pearl and I traveled the Southwest  together, and deep across the border into Mexico on many occasions.

 

 

 

The irony was this photographer was blessed with a wonderful dog – that totally hated cameras.  No, hate is too weak a word. My old dog positively detested cameras of any and all types.

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Hear the growl and imagine her saying “Keep that camera away from me…”

Pearl would leave the room with haste whenever so much as an iPhone came out.  Leica rangefinder, Sony mirrorless, it made no difference.  It was the strangest thing any of our friends had ever seen.  My old dog.  Like many others on the Navajo Nation where Pearl was born, I guess she feared a camera was going to capture her spirit?  Hers was way too large a spirit for any mortal camera to capture.

Pearl never cared much for the Doggie Wash either.

Pearl never cared much for the Doggie Wash either, but she loved to catch skunks.

But enough, I need to dry my eyes and remember my old dog as she was.  Goodbye my friend. I will miss the sound of your claws clacking across the wood floors; the feel of your fur as you came up and laid your warm head on my knee for a good ear scratch; and the way you always looked after me wherever we went.  You were the bravest and most loyal friend a man could ever have. You were my old dog.