It’s strange, considering that a single dog’s life is worth at least as much as five or six humans, that our animal celebrity deaths are not more widely mourned. We know when and how James Dean and Marilyn Monroe died, but what about Benji, Wishbone, dear sweet Hobo, or lovable, basketball-playing golden retriever Air Bud?
Over at VICE, Joe Veix has tried to find the answer to at least one of these questions, searching for the canine thespian’s final resting place because, as he puts it, “you can tell a lot about a society by how it honors its fallen heroes.”
Beginning at the aptly named findagrave.com, Veix discovers that Air Bud star Buddy the Dog died on February 10, 1998, living to see only a small glimpse of his 1997 film’s success, much like a furry van Gogh. (A personal visit to the site also shows a squashed column of virtual respects paid by the many whose hearts and minds Buddy still occupies.)
The search for Buddy’s grave continues with Veix attempting to track down Kevin DiCicco, the man who rescued the dog after finding him abandoned on a hike and subsequently trained him how to play a very limited amount of basketball. A phone call later, we learn the full story of Buddy’s decline (dog cancer; very sad) and the location of the San Diego beach where his ashes were spread (rumors persist that on certain nights of the year, barking and dribbling balls can be heard alongside the waves).
The entire article is worth reading, not just for the sake of Buddy’s hallowed memory but for the full story of his movie career and DiCicco’s relationship with Hollywood and teaching sports to animals. If nothing else, it’s also the best story about dog corpses you’ll read this week, guaranteed.