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Surf Photographer Ben Moon’s Beautiful Tribute to His Dying Dog

By Hanssie on June 12th 2015

You’ve likely seen surf photographer Ben Moon’s work. It’s pretty much everywhere. His client list reads like a magazine stand at Barnes and Noble. From publications such as National Geographic, GQ and Playboy to advertisements for Patagonia, Sony Records, Clif Bar and Adidas, Ben’s career has been impressive and enviable. It’s no wonder seeing his amazing images, but Ben’s latest project, a very personal tribute to his dog is (in my opinion) some of his best work and it’s been making the viral rounds on the Internet this week.

Image by Ben Moon via screencap

Image by Ben Moon via screencap


It began popping up in my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, a picture of a man in a hospital bed, a dog curled up against him, accompanied by a click bait worthy tagline. Now, usually I click through pretty much any video where I see a dog – you dog lovers would probably understand – but it was a busy day, and I had things to do. So finally, this morning, as I laid in my warm bed, trying to savor the last few minutes before my own dogs would bug me to feed them, and after seeing it shared all over my facebook feed, I took the bait.

Titled, “Denali,” the almost 8-minute video is a beautiful tribute told from the point of view of Ben’s 14-year-old dog. Ben adopted Denali from a local shelter with his then girlfriend. When that relationship ended, Ben and Denali became inseparable, and together living the life of a nomad surf photographer in the Pacific Northwest. In 2004, when Ben battled Stage 3 cancer, Denali never left his side. When Ben recovered, Denali and Ben continued to travel, and Denali became a favorite subject of Ben’s camera. Ten years later, Denali himself was diagnosed with cancer, which with his age could not be treated. The following video is of Denali’s last days, and it is as beautiful as it is heart wretching. You’ll want to grab a few a box of tissues…

[Via FELT SOUL MEDIA/ Little Things]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Thomas Horton

    This reminds me of “I Died Today”. By, Duke Roberts

    Someone was cutting onions then too…

    Dogs are not like a family member.
    Dogs are a family member.

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  2. Dave Haynie

    Wow, that was amazing. And this pushed all my buttons.

    The first person I knew with cancer was my Mom’s dog “Queen Victoria” — we called her Vicky, back when I was a teenager. She was diagnosed after it had spread, so didn’t last that long after the diagnosis. I grew up around dogs and other pets. My Mom worked with a group that rescued animals from abusive shelters for awhile, so we usually had a half a dozen guest pets as well as the 6 or 7 or more full timers.

    My wife Lizzie got breast cancer in 2010, but kicked it’s ass with surgery, chemo and radiation treatments. It’s all good now, but you never know if it’s completely gone. Our dog Grendel has given us a few cancer scares with various tumors, but they all turned to be non-cancerous. We had special concern, as she’s a Golden Retriever. About 60% of Goldens die of cancer, and that’s a relatively new thing they don’t seem to understand yet. She’ll be 16 on September 27th (which is also Lizzie’s birthday, though she’s just a bit older)… the clock’s always ticking I guess, but you hear it louder as they get older.

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  3. Thomas Horton

    It is said that all dogs go to heaven.

    I hope that my dogs will put in a good word for me so I can come visit them once in a while.

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  4. Tosh Cuellar

    beautiful tribute

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  5. Thomas Horton

    Don’t mind me, there is a little dust in my office…

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  6. Donna Jewell

    Dogs become such a reflection of your own self; from the breed you choose, to the personality you choose, to the life you lead with them. Best line in the video: what a dog can teach you is, “each time someone you love walks through the door, even if it happens 5 times a day, you should go totally insane with joy.”

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  7. Peter Nord

    I’m old enough to have out lived a few dogs. Our friend Toby is fifteen now. Lost 20 pounds, can’t hear. Sometimes I have to help him stand up. Still manages to go in and out the dog door whenever he wants. It never gets easier.

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  8. Ralph Hightower

    Neither my wife or me have had to endure cancer, but one of our dogs has gone through chemo. It went into remission for a few years, but came back. We couldn’t put him back through chemo when the treatments aggravated his epilepsy. Most times, they will tell you, ask you “It’s time.” Becky was at the vet for a few days and we discussed it and made the decision for that Saturday; she passed away Friday night. She was two months shy of crossing 18 years.

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  9. Lissette Garcia

    This was heartwrenching and beautiful.

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  10. Jesper Ek

    Nice footage!

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  11. Fabio Porta

    Beautiful tribute! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Lindsay Buedel

    Dogs are incredible animals. Denali was so lucky to have lived life to its fullest!

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  13. Brandon Dewey

    Great video, this is the second time I’ve seen it and it still is very powerful.

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  14. Jason Markos

    What a fantastic tribute! Also, a bit of a wake up call as to what’s important in life…

    Thanks for posting it.

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