Ace And The Desert Dog

ace and the desert dog

About a year ago, I spent a few days with Ace Kvale and his 10-year-old blue heeler, Genghis Khan, in their home in southern Utah’s canyon country. I have met, petted, walked, spoken English to, and been briefly enamored with a lot of people’s dogs, but I thought I saw something special with Ace and Genghis.

They were devoted to each other, Genghis’s big eyes always tracking Ace around the house making sure he wasn’t leaving; Ace the adventure photographer having more or less stayed home from big expeditions since he’d gotten Genghis in 2005 so they could hang out together. They went everywhere together, from the coffee shop down the road, to day hikes, to their 27-day backpacking trip a couple years ago. And, Ace said, for his 60th birthday, they were going to do a 60-day backpacking trip, walking out the front door of the house and covering 400-some miles in a big loop of mostly trailless desert terrain.

You probably have a friend or acquaintance you wish everyone in your life could meet, just for a few minutes, just to experience what that special friend is like in person. Well, most of the time, that’s impossible, sadly.

But, if you get a few of the right creative friends together, you can make a film about that person, and if you try really hard, it might come close to a sort of in-person meeting. At the very least, it could be better than, for example, saying, “My friend Ace and his dog Genghis are wonderful. I wish you could meet them.”

My friends Forest Woodward, Stefan Hunt, Max Lowe, Seth Neilson, Joe Peters, and I worked really hard on this film. I hope you like it, just in case you never get the chance to meet Ace and Genghis.

[photo by Forest Woodward]


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13 replies on “Ace And The Desert Dog”
  1. says: Victor Snover


    This was really, really great… I’m hoping your new book is at Maria’s in Durango so I can scoop up a couple of copies (one for myself of course) and a couple to send to friends. Your writing is wonderful and I often share semi-rad posts with my students ( Army JROTC High School kids) in Aztec NM. Thanks once again for making my day (and week!).

    Victor Snover

  2. says: Jill

    “He’s my guy and I’m his guy”. Yep. Just exactly how it is with my girl and me! Loved this!!!

  3. says: paddy

    that made my day, and I packed for a week in the valley today. definitely checking out desert dawg!

  4. says: doug moore

    Good job Brendan. Wife and I just watched together, and got a little teary by the end. Would like to see you try some further video production, the results are as good as anything you’ve written.

  5. says: Laura

    Such a great movie! Good job! Got me very emotional and teary eyed in some parts. Reminds me of backpacking with my dog, but he usually can only make it two days before he’s exhausted. He could learn some things from Genghis.

  6. says: Oaukha

    That is what I had with my dog, Flint. Camping, mountains, rain, snow, sun, backpacking, park, watching TV, pub: together. The best part of my life.

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