When we first featured the work of Dave Meinert, the South African commercials director and filmmaker was showing us the world through the eyes of a very lucky dog, the star of, and canine cinematogrpher on an excellent GoPro-enabled music video. This time, Meinart is pointing the camera at a dog–a pup who didn’t have the luckiest start in life, but whom Meinert decided deserved not only a home but some time in the spotlight.
Meinert rescued a four-week old Great Dane puppy named Pegasus from an irresponsible backyard breeder. The dog was sick–she suffered from a pigment deficiency that often leads to deafness and blindness, and the other dogs born in her litter had either died or been deformed. So when he took her in, he wasn’t expecting a long-term companion: “Rescuing her was a way for me to be sure she’d be looked after,” Meinert says. “For me, she had already been born–nothing was going to change that. By rescuing her, at least I could be certain that she wouldn’t be discarded.” Rather than dwell on the negatives about her life, he says, “I decided to make a record of the healthy days as a way to celebrate them.”
Meinert decided, however long he had with Pegasus, he would document her life. To do that, he set his camera rig up facing the treadmill he used to help her exercise. He built a rig to lock the camera down, and set up lights above the treadmill to control for the change in seasons and other lighting variations (he also enlisted the help of an animal behaviorist friend and spent painstaking, patient hours working with the dog). And nearly every day for the next five months, he shot footage of her as she walked, played, and otherwise acted like a puppy in front of the camera.
And through the time-lapse footage that Meinert shot, we can see Pegasus grow up in front of our eyes. The first six months of a Great Dane’s life are the time when they grow the most, and the evolution of Pegasus as she goes from awkward puppy to slightly-less-awkward gentle giant–all on the treadmill that ensures that, regardless of whether she goes deaf or blind, she’ll be able to get enough exercise–is fascinating to watch.
Meinert admits that, despite the heartwarming outcome of the video, it’s still not clear how long Pegasus has–the risks of a dog with her condition include the dangers that come from the disabilities she may face, as well as a severely increased risk of skin cancers because of the lack of pigment. But she’s here now, and while Meinert’s video can be seen as a reminder about unethical breeding and the importance of adoption, it’s more just a fitting tribute to the joys of the moment.