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The story of a dog, his human, and the friendship that saved both of their lives.
When Ben Moon moved from the Midwest to Oregon, he hadn’t planned on getting a dog. But when he first met the soulful gaze of a rescue pup in a shelter, Ben instantly felt a connection, and his friendship with Denali was born. The two of them set out on the road together, on an adventure that would take them across the American west and through some of the best years of their lives. But when Ben was diagnosed with colorectal cancer at age 29, he faced a difficult battle with the disease, and Denali never once left his side until they were back out surfing and climbing crags. It was only a short time later that Denali was struck by the same disease, and Ben had the chance to return the favor. Denali is the story of this powerful friendship that shaped Ben and Denali’s lives, showing the strength and love that we give and receive when we have our friends by our side.
Photographer and filmmaker Moon explores his relationship with his dog and their special bond forged during life and death moments in this moving debut. After relocating from Michigan to Oregon with his wife, Moon longed for a dog like the ones he shared outdoor adventures with as a kid and adopts Denali, a pit bull mix puppy. Moon and Denali form a connection as Moon's marriage falls apart, and the two companions make a fresh start as Moon, an avid outdoor athlete, begins living in his van to realize his dream of becoming a rock climbing and surfing photographer. Their freewheeling lifestyle comes to a halt when the 29-year-old Moon is diagnosed with colon cancer. With Denali close by his side through his ordeal, Moon recovers; for the next decade, however, Denali suffers various illnesses, also including cancer. Moon takes the role of caregiver throughout Denali's illness, and heartbreakingly details Denali's final days before he died. The ordeal teaches Moon to focus on the present and remain positive which is made easier when he adopts another puppy. Moon inspires and educates in this tearjerking memoir of his best friend.