Half for the woofers
The purpose of this campaign is raise a few bucks to help save and foster dogs in the Los Angeles area with Karma Rescue, Independent Labrador Rescue, All-Breed Rescue and Paws and Pilots. Half of all proceeds go to the dogs.
You'd look for a dog you saw in the clouds, wouldn't you?
Late one Himalayan night, after a run of luck that included being crushed in a jeep wreck, both legs and an arm pulverized, my skull cracked open and my face smashed, only to be paralyzed by a spinal cord tumor, divorced, fired, sentenced to death for espionage in one country and persona non grata-ed and deported from another, I saw a dog in the storm clouds over Kathmandu. I took it as a sign, and I looked for that dog for two years.
Matching a dog on Earth to one you saw up in the sky turned out to be harder than I thought.
When I gave up, I settled for the first puppy I could find in the Colorado classifieds. He turned out to be the one who performed the rescue. Eventually he gave his life to save mine. Along the way he provided me with the most meaningful journey of my life. We traveled together from the Rockies to the Himalaya, and what he taught me about compassion and rescue - a dog’s lesson about love - would change my life. They were hard changes and they almost killed me, but they saved my life.
His name was Orville. He was sent from the clouds to save me. I believe that’ll sound familiar to a lot of people. in a way, the lesson was that every dog is the dog in the clouds.
You’re kidding right? A dog in the clouds? Hunh?
I'm an obscure documentary filmmaker. My film, Lines of Fire, about revolution and heroin trafficking in Burma, opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and was then honored by being chosen to open the Motion Picture Academy's annual doc series. It screened all over the world, got great reviews and led to more work.
But making that film also shook me up. There was lots of war and suffering, and seeing up close the way children, animals and the environment pay the price for the cruelty of a few greedy and violent people had a deep and troubling effect on me. It hit me so hard that I thought I'd get away from storytelling of any kind, and just keep to myself. When the film I shot in Nepal with Orville appeared to be destroyed, I thought the message was clear: find another job, buddy.
I went to work as a pilot. Eventually I rebuilt a beat-up old wreck and started Black & White Biplane, an open-cockpit ride company in Santa Monica that sold biplane rides and made a lot of people incredibly happy. It was a great job. It steadily lost money, but imagine being able to share a joyous adventure with so many people, flying them close to the waves, high over the Sierras, or buzzing the Hollywood Sign. I had found a way to make my skill and experience useful to others. It never made any money, but it was a high success.
But my injuries finally caught up with me, and one day the feds came along and decided to drum me out of the air corps on medical grounds. One of my pilots got me a job directing an aviation documentary.
In the course of working in digital filmmaking, I realized that the footage I shot of Orville when I took him to Nepal could now be rescued with the help of new equipment.
Much more importantly, looking at that footage and at all the pictures of that great dog, I finally made the decision to share the story of what really happened with him, and in the way he affected a life that was going off the rails. It wasn't the easiest decision. Try telling people you saw a dog in the clouds and believed in him so much that you actually searched for him. Then try telling them this....
After I saw the dog in the clouds late that lonely night in Kathmandu, after years of being broken to pieces and on the run, after looking for that dog, and after giving up - I found him. The lesson his life taught me was one about every single dog in the world. It is as much about your dog in the clouds as it is about mine.
Writing this book will make two things happen: it'll get the best story I know published, and it'll give us all a way to help a few more dogs by getting some money to the rescue organizations I foster for, Karma Rescue and Independent Labrador Rescue.
It’s the best way I can think of to bring the kind of happiness and inspiration to people and to animals.
What We Need & What You Get
New e-book formats will allow me to blend my book-length text with the trove of video and still images I have. This story lends itself much more to an e-book than a printed one, because linking to high-resolution images will make the story come alive in a way that a photo section in a printed book can never do. And I was filming and photographing all the time.
The pictures are on negatives, and the video is on mini-DV. That means there's a ton of work to do scanning the pictures and editing the video.The project needs some basic gear and to hire some techies.
In return you'll get copies of the e-book. Dogs will get homes. And I'll get to do my book.