Denali: A Dog’s Perspective on Life and Death

Posted on August 6, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

“When someone you love walks through the door, even if it happens five times a day, you should jump up and totally go insane with joy.” That’s a quote from Denali the dog, who’s 14 years old and could teach us all a lot about life.

Image: Ben and his dog Denali in his hospital bed cuddling on the left and Ben with Denali both of them have their eyes closed on the right
Source: BEN MOON

Fortunately, we have a video he made for us just before he passed and we are sharing it today on EWC (everwideningcircles.com), thanks to our frequent Guest Curator, Kelly Leroux Christie, who sent us the link.

If you are new to this website then Welcome! I’m Dr. Lynda Ulrich and I created EWC about a year ago to feature fact-checked stories that demonstrate this is still an amazing world; despite what the negative 24-hour news cycle is telling us.

Now 600+ articles later, we have regular visitors from 190+ countries and 500 new Facebook fans per day! Turns out I wasn’t the only one looking for credible, good news without an agenda.

Denali’s story is one of so many that our community is sharing. Take a look at some pics from other articles:

Image: Ever Widening Circles article thumbnail collage

After this video, I’ll tell you more about Denali’s friend Ben, and point you to a few more recommended articles that will brighten your world view. Now here’s what a great friendship looks like from a dog’s perspective:

What a gorgeous expression of love, gratitude, and friendship. Special thanks to Denali’s owner, surfer/photographer Ben Moon, for helping Denali put that all together for us.

Here’s what we found about Ben:

In June 2004, tragedy struck. Ben was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. Denali stood faithfully by his side, refusing to leave the hospital room. Throughout the surgeries, treatments, and procedures, there was Denali, resting gently beside Ben. The dog’s healing power played a huge role in Ben’s recovery.

Denali had been a big part of Ben’s photography, even taking his rightful place on magazine covers throughout the years. In early 2014, Denali himself endured cancer, and Ben promised to never let him suffer. According to Ruffwear, he told him it was okay to let go. But after production began for the “Denali” film a week later — the very video you saw — Ben asked Denali if he could stick around for another month. Exactly one month later, at midnight, Denali developed a bad cough. Moon and Denali played on the beach the next day. The following morning he gave Ben the look — it was time to go. 2

Image: a small Butterfly on a yellow and orange flower
Source: LIESL ULRICH-VERDERBER

Beauty comes in so many packages on this planet.

This reminds me of a great piece of advice I heard recently:

“Always have one very clear image of something beautiful in the back of your mind, so you can focus on that the moment you are faced with ugliness.”

Nice!

I tried this strategy recently when a relative (who had too much to drink) said something very unkind to me. It worked!

Now go out an hug your kid, hug a friend, hug a good dog, and be extra kind to a stranger. And for gosh sakes, jump up and go wild with joy when someone you love walks in the room.

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Stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda