Watch Now: the @insideHPC Documentary about Dogs and the People Who Love Them

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I would like to interrupt whatever it is that normally happens to share this very special film with all my readers who happen to be Dog lovers. Once there was a Giant is a short documentary film about Dogs and the Dog Owners who love them. Written and Directed by Richard Brueckner, this film premiered in Portland on Halloween and is now live on YouTube.

Designed from the beginning as a fundraiser for the Multnomah County Animal ShelterOnce There Was a Giant centers around Jax, a wonderful dog who fighting a battle with cancer. Jax is only 5 years old, and the film Director wanted to do something good to benefit the shelter where Jax came from. You can read the Full Back-Story in our Blog.

Back Story of Once there was a Giant

The backstory of this film is something very personal to me as a writer.

When I was 12 years old, I was reading all the science fiction I could get my hands on: Isaac AsimovArthur C. Clarke, and even Stanislaw Lem. And then I found this book by Keith Laumer called “Once there was a Giant.” It was so magical that it made me want to be a writer.

In the story, an astronaut crashes on an ice planet and finds himself facing certain death. Then a 12-foot local being saves him even though they share no common language. Not to spoil things for you, but the Giant dies in the process of saving the man in a selfless way that shook me to my very core. What compassion for others!

To me, that is the story of Jax.

The book ends with this line, something so well done that I found myself re-reading this story over and over to see how Keith Laumer got there.

It’s a big, impersonal Universe, and little men crave the thing that will give them stature against the loom of stars.


But in the world where once there was a giant, the rest of us are forever pygmies.”

Keith Laumer from his short story “Once There Was A Giant.”

Jax portrait courtesy of Michele Clamp and HPC Elder James Cuff.

Today I am a very successful tech journalist covering the High Performance Computing Industry, but none of that might have happened without that one book.

Editor’s Update: Though Keith Laumer died in 1993, his estate has granted me permission to use his words as the opening of my film. I am so grateful!

The message of this film is simple; Please Adopt a Dog or Donate Today!

-Rich Brueckner

Editor’s Note: Watch this trailer for a sneak peek at my next documentary, this time for the benefit of the Audubon Society.


  1. I don’t know why you say your post isn’t HPC.
    Doesn’t HPC stand for “High performance canine”?

  2. This is awesome! My dogs are my office mates and encourage me to do great things for HPC everyday!

  3. Fabrizio Zanella says

    Hi Rich, very nice video. 2 months ago we lost a 12.5 year old yellow lab who was a major part of the family, best dog ever. I can’t imagine life without dogs, we just got a new puppy.
    Hope to run into you at SC’18 Fabrizio Zanella

  4. Mike Shultz says

    I would not have know about this film, but and am glad that a mutual good friend of ours (Mike Bernhardt) sent me an email today and said I should try and attend. I’m going to be out of town on the 31st, but will be putting the date/time in my calendar to stream it while traveling!

    We rescued a very special Boxer named Milo from an environment that was sure to have killed him, and he has become the most loving, trusting, humble part of our family. His personality (from seeing your video) reminds me of your Jax. My thoughts and prayers are with you in this tough time, and I applaud your creative way to get support for the animals in this world who need our love and homes!

    Kindest Regards,

  5. I was not expecting to find it here, but I’m glad that I did. It reminded me of one special princess.