BOZEMAN — It’s a heartbreaking story behind an inspirational puppy who continues to carry a powerful message for Give Big Gallatin Valley.
Give Big in Bozeman aims to do just that once again this year. It means giving big to everybody, whether you have two legs or four.
In one video, a small puppy is the voice and the eyes behind giving big to a non-profit focusing on just dogs, yet this puppy has a special story of his own.
“He was sort of our road to joy, really,” says Ben Pierce, one of Daito’s parents. “He just brought so much happiness to both of us.”
At only a few months old, Diato the healer mix knew how to steal the camera.
“You see him doing something cute and by the time you are ready to shoot, he’s already on to the next thing,” Pierce says.
Pierce and Christine Marozick, Diato’s parents, went above and beyond with their cameras catching him the moment, all for Run Dog Run, the Bozeman non-profit dedicated to keeping dog parks up to barking standard.
“They decided to tell the story of Run Dog Run through the eyes of a puppy, Diato, who wants to run with the big dogs in an off-leash dog park,” says Terry Cunningham, executive director of Run Dog Run.
“It’s beyond exercise. It really is socialization,” Pierce says. “Those dogs need to be around other animals and they need to spend time talking to each other and being friends and jumping in the water and doing dog stuff.”
But the night before Give Big, heartbreak.
“I got a phone call this morning from Ben, who was really torn up because Diato was diagnosed with a really rare blood disease and they had to put him down [Wednesday] night,” Cunningham says. “It’s just crushing, crushing news. It hollows you out.”
But Diato, taken by a disease that wouldn’t allow his blood to clot, is still leading the charge in Ben’s video.
“I immediately said to Ben, okay, we’ll pull all of the Daito references,” Cunningham says. “We know that is going to be painful for you. He said 'no, no, no. We want to do the exact opposite. I want to double-down.'”
“We’re still pretty much in shock but I just feel like if there’s something good that could come from this difficult situation that we’re going through right now, all the better,” Pierce says. “There’s no shortage of dogs in this world that need a place to run and need a place to be outside. Diato would want to be a part of that. He’d be out here, racing around.”
Every volunteer of Run Dog Run says every dollar raised is all thanks to Diato.
“It means a lot,” Pierce says. “It’s just like… it could be any one of us. It happens to be us that found ourselves in the situation. He just had a disease that nature had its way and we had to say goodbye to him. That could happen to any dog at any moment and if his legacy is supporting places like this then I’m proud of it. I’m happy that we had the chance to live with and had him as a part of our lives as long as we did because he was the dog that we needed, the dog we wanted, and everything that we could have asked for.”
The video took about three months to shoot.
Pierce says one of the best parts of Daito’s story is while Diato in that video dreamed of going to the dog park someday, he eventually got to when he was old enough.
Pierce hopes that now, Diato’s message keeps on giving.