Ben and Denali – Companionship That Transcends Time

When someone you love walks through the door, even if it happens five times a day, you should go totally insane with joy.


I came across something today that moved me to tears within minutes. I am a sensitive woman, but few things move me to tears that easily.  This did.

Maybe it’s because I can relate to saying goodbye.  Or maybe it’s because I know what it’s like to love another soul deeply, with every fiber of my being, that I would do anything to help them.

Regardless of why it moved me, I would like to share it with you.

Normally I wait until the end of the week, for my Soulful Sunday posts, but I couldn’t wait. It’s too amazing.  Please take a moment to turn inward, and set aside all of life’s distractions to watch something truly beautiful. You’ll be glad you did.

This is a filmmaker’s tribute to his beloved and loyal canine companion.  The video, Denali, is told from the point of view of the dog. – quite hilariously at times.  It’s so well done.  And other artists have recognized it’s brilliance: The film premiered at 5Point Film Festival, winning both Best of Festival and People’s Choice, and was an official selection at Telluride Mountainfilm.

This short film is a gorgeous and poignant expression of friendship, gratitude, honoring a beloved companion, and unconditional love.

This film is a celebration of life.

It’s a celebration of real friendship.

It’s a glimpse into how powerful a bond can become between a person and their beloved animal companion.

It’s something that I hope you can experience one day.

As I have written about before, friendships come in all shapes and sizes.  And this film shows us just that; an illumination of the resilience we can create together with the help of true friends.   But as many of you know, these friendships have to end sometimes.  That’s just the crappy part of this life.

And as Ben shows us in his deeply moving film …  

There’s no easy way to say goodbye to a friend, especially when they’ve supported you through your darkest times.

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Whatever we were to each, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be the household word it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was;
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of your mind because I am out of your sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near just around the corner…
All is well. Nothing is past, nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before,
Only better and infinitely happier,
And forever we will be one together.

~ Henry Scott Holland

Denali on beach

Love Transcends Time and Space.  

All of the souls you loved are never lost.  They are merely a thought away. 

Keep them close to you in your heart. 

Related Links

What Our Dogs Teach Us About Aging by David Dudley

Ben Moon

In ‘Denali,’ Remembering a Man and His Dog

Don’t Wait. It may be too late.

There Is No Death

Celebrate Them Every Day.

We seek the comfort of another. 
Someone to share the life we choose. 
Someone to help us through the never ending attempt to understand ourselves. 
And in the end, someone to comfort us along the way. 
~ Marlin Finch Lupus

Hocus Pocus our puppy _copyright Conscious Companion
Hocus Pocus, our canine companion, during her puppy days

Today I am celebrating the birthday of one of my greatest teachers.  I have had many teachers in life.  Many of them were people, and many were animals. But the teacher that I am celebrating today is a dog.

I have only known her for three years, but I feel like I have known her for lifetimes.  She is my constant companion, my friend, my guardian, and my teacher.  She is my dog.  I am her human.  And we love each other more deeply that I ever though possible.

Hocus (and the rest of our animal menagerie) have taught me some of my most valuable lessons in life.  Because of them, I learned to see life through the eyes of an animal.  I learned how to live life to the fullest, and to never take things for granted.  They showed me how to trust more, give more, love more, feel more, and share more.  They showed me what unconditional love and loyalty really is.  They taught me how to slow down, and how to love myself more.  They showed me how to play more, why it’s good to be goofy, and to not care what anyone else thinks.  They show me why it’s safe to be my authentic self, and not be afraid to hide who I really am, and what I really feel.  They showed me how to move through fear gracefully, and how to never regret a damn thing.  From watching them, I learned that I am never a victim of the world; I have the ability to create my world.  They taught me to not take life too seriously, but to give 100 percent to everything  I do.

My teachers taught me when you breathe into fear, it becomes adventure.  Adventure appeals to your sense of wonder, your inner child, and most important, your creative self.  It also reminds you that you make new things happen- the world doesn’t just happen to you. ~ Sonia Choquette

How do you give thanks to someone who gives you these kinds of gifts every day?  It’s easy; by thanking them each day – not just on their birthday.

So here we are. It’s a day after her birthday, but I don’t care.  It’s not about the date.  It’s about honoring and celebrating her every day.  So I made a promise to do just that.

For the rest of my life, I will celebrate her.  I will celebrate the day she was born.  I will celebrate the day she came into our lives.  I will celebrate every day. I will celebrate all of them.

I made a cheesy video for my husband, who once again, has to be gone for long lengths of time, so he cannot be with her during her “birthday extravaganza”.  I wasn’t going to share it with anyone but our family, but I finally decided to share it with other families who love their animal companions as much as we do.  My hope is to inspire you to celebrate your furry, feathered, or scaly animal companion every day of the year.

If you choose to, you can watch the video here.

Let’s stop waiting for birthdays to do “special things” with our animal family members.  Go on an adventure together on a Wednesday!  Offer him that rare, special treat on a Tuesday!   Spend quality time with her on a Thursday!  Make time for them every day.

The earth trembled and a great rift appeared, separating the first man and woman from the rest of the animal kingdom.  As the chasm grew deeper and wider, all the other creatures, afraid for their lives, returned to the forest — except for the dog, who after much consideration lept the perilous rift to stay with the humans on the other side.  His love for humanity was greater than his bond to other creatures, he explained, and he willingly forfeited his place in paradise to prove it.”
~ Native American folktale, Ojibway tribe

Pets_Love_quotes_dogs_Conscious Companion
Hocus, and her people

How do you celebrate your animal family member’s birthdays? I would love to hear!

Those On the Journey with Us

Those who make the journey with us

You only have to look around at your soul companions, who are making this journey with you, to realize how blessed you are.

Friendship of the Furry Kind


Friend is defined asone attached to another by affection or esteem; a favored companion; to have a friendship or friendly relationship with

Friendship is defined as:  a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people.  Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an acquaintanceship.

Companionship is defined as:  the relationship of friends or companions; fellowship

Why do these definitions matter?  Well,  I just learned that today is National Best Friend Day.  When I heard this I started to reflect upon the best friends in my life.  At my age I no longer refer to my friends as “best friends”.   I have soul sisters, great friends, soul brothers, and close friends, but each of those descriptions are more like categories or labels that don’t really come close to describing how dear each of them are to me.  Then I got to thinking about how there have been times in my life that I did have friends that were better than others, and some of these friends were animals.

I learned many years ago that soul mates come in all shapes and sizes.  One of my soul mates and best friend in life was a canine companion.  Her name was File’ (pronounced Feelay).  She belonged to another family when I first met her, but I adored her even then.  I had my own dog at the time, but File’ had a special place in my heart.  I was her caretaker when her humans had to leave town. She lived with other dogs that I equally loved, but for some reason, she and I really bonded.

Fast forward to 2005, and hurricane Katrina came to town.  I was forced to evacuate with my animal menagerie and File’s family asked me to take File’ with me, because she was badly injured from a recent (and ongoing) rivalry with another dog in the household.   I agreed of course, and we weathered the storm elsewhere.  I ended up adopting File`several months later.  It wasn’t expected, but it seemed like it was meant to be.

Fast forward to many months later and things began to fall apart in my life.  I had a huge, nasty break up that seemed to never end.  Then I had to move four times in six months.  Who was by my side through all of the drama and emotional rollercoaster?  – File’.  She was always there, never complaining, never judging, and ceaselessly loving me and helping me to weather my emotional storms.  She never left my side.  File`s devotion to me was unlike any that  I had ever known.  She was a guardian and  a protector.  At the same time, she was a gentle spirit, so full of love and life.  She knew me better than I knew myself.  She was my soul mate.  The bond we shared is what creates worlds.  It was magical.  It was divine.  It was a gift from above.  We spent every moment that we could together and we went everywhere together, adventuring and exploring.  Then one day her body gave out suddenly and she had to leave this world.

Me and File' on the levee in New Orleans
Me and File’ having a picnic on the levee in New Orleans

Her ears were often the first thing to catch my tears.   ~Elizabeth Browning

Kisses from File` on my 30th birthday
Kisses from File` on my 30th birthday

As I said before, soul mates come in many shapes and sizes.  My husband and I refer to each other as soul mates and the best of friends.  What we share is unlike anything I had every known or imagined.  We are truly blessed.  Now that my husband is deployed, I find myself somewhat isolated from friends and family.  All of my closest friends and family live states or countries away.  I am a fiercely independent woman, so being without my husband for the better part of a year, is not as horrible as it sounds to most.  However, at times, I miss my friends and my husband terribly.  When I am feeling down and blue, missing the favorite people in my life, I still have a devoted friend by my side to lift my mood.

This friend’s name is Hocus Pocus and she walks on all fours.  Yeah, once again, life gave me another furry friend to keep me laughing, smiling, and on my toes when I am riding the solo train.  Although I cannot compare canine companionship to that of the companionship and friendship that my husband and I share, I do see some similarities; unconditional love, acceptance, compassion, joy, humor, trust, and empathy.

Me & Hocus Pocus on a road trip
Me & Hocus Pocus on a road trip

Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of friendship. Such characteristics include affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, mutual understanding and compassion, enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend.

Many other species of animals share a very large space in my heart.  These friendships range from giant tortoises, to parrot of all sizes, and of course, the feline persuasion as well.  But there is something truly special about sharing your days and nights with a companion animal that sees you literally at your worst, and yet they stand by your side every moment, every day, without judgment.  To be able to share adventures together, to explore life together, and to challenge you in so many ways is such a blessing!  To be able to truly be yourself in the presence of an animal and they still love you unconditionally is a remarkable gift.  I believe this is one of the lessons that they are here to teach us; how to love each other unconditionally – when we are at our worst, without judging.

Today I thank two of my best friends for showing me how to love others wholly, how to love and accept myself completely, and how to help others to do the same.  Thank you, File’, for being my best friend and sharing your soul with mine.  Thank you, Hocus Pocus for coming into our lives and for keeping me busy while your daddy is away keeping the world a safer place.

I am forever grateful to you both.

Beaching with my Best Girl
Beaching with my Best Girl

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” – Roger Caras