Eight Below

I finally saw Eight Below, the movie about the dog sled team left behind in the Antarctic, fending for themselves for six months before six of the original eight were rescued.

The lead dog's name: Maya. Pronounced the same as my girl, Maia.

The team - in the movie, anyway - consisted of six Huskies and two Malamutes. Maya was a Husky but looked very much like my own Maia.

I haven't cried so much in a long time. I normally avoid movies involving lost, injured or killed dogs because they make me so sad, or mad, or both. This one was no different, and perhaps even more emotional for me because the dogs looked and acted so much like my own.

For example: Maya didn't enjoy being hugged. Same with my girls. Such a northern breed trait. Doesn't mean they don't love you. They just need their space. Then there was the ear and head licking when Maya said goodbye to the one dog who refused to break his chain and leave with the group after they were all abandoned. It mimicked the tender moments when I watch Meadow licks my Maia's ears and head, showing Maia how much she loves her. The pack ties and dynamics, the working together to hunt. All spot on.

Of course, the dogs looked none the worse for wear after six months on their own in brutal weather with little food, but that just meant they were treated well on the movie set ;-)

I lifted the photos of Maya and the entire dog crew (with their leading human) from a movie web site. They're small photos, but I think you can see the resemblance between movie Maya and my Maia.

If you haven't seen the movie, and you love seeing dogs in movies that aren't cartoons, watch Eight Below. Just be prepared to shed a few tears along the way.