Buddy - The Amazing Pack Rat


Making Buddy’s Short Film

Buddy - The Amazing Pack Rat
2011 Film Festival Finalist
Recipient of Three Honorary Mentions
(Run time 12:51)

Buddy – The Amazing Pack Rat is the story about a pack rat who is released into the wild by lifelong animal lover, Bonnie… but Buddy has other plans.

bonnieAfter leaving the live-trap, Buddy sprints to Bonnie’s car, looks up the tire, climbs inside somewhere, and hitches a ride back home. The rest of the story shows rare or never-before-seen delightful footage of wild pack rat activities as Buddy and Bonnie develop an unbelievably unique and heartwarming friendship.

Being an animal lover, I sometimes use my camcorder to film the release of my resident pack rats. After much regret for not filming Buddy’s first release, I filmed all future releases which include Buddy scampering to my car four times to hitch a ride back home.

Photo Credit: Observer, La Grande, OR

I continued filming my experiences with Buddy purely out of my love for animals. I never had any thought or intention of making a short film so I didn’t use a tripod or take any of those extra shots that come in so handy during editing. As our relationship developed and Buddy continued doing remarkable things, I began feeling there was a reason I was so blessed with his special friendship… and that there must be a bigger purpose for Buddy having come to me.

While in Bend, Oregon in October 2010, I volunteered at the Bend Film Festival. As I watched a number of short films it became clear that this is the perfect way to share Buddy’s story. My first goal was to submit Buddy’s short to the 2011 U.S. Super 8mm Film Festival at Rutgers University by the mid-January deadline.

Not having a Mac, I persuaded my father to let me use his credit card to charge an iMac and Final Cut Express. Both were delivered the day before Christmas and with help from Eastern Oregon University grad student, Tim Mustoe and sophomore, Caleb Bryant, I worked night and day to make the best possible short film using the footage available.

Buddy – The Amazing Pack Rat qualified as a finalist at the New Jersey Film Festival and received an Honorable Mention (out of 157 entries). His film also received an Honorable Mention at the Love Unlimited Film Festival in Venice, California, and in the Animal Behavior category at the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. In addition, “Buddy” has just been selected to screen at the Awareness Festival in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 8th at 9am.

I believe my purpose in life is to increase awareness about animals. When a person learns to love and have compassion for animals, often then they can open their heart to other human beings. And everyone – even the rare person who isn’t so sure they want to hear my “pack rat story” – opens their heart when I share Buddy’s story.


Copyright 2010 by Bonnie Norton

To watch Buddy’s entire story link to: Order Buddy’s DVD

SPECIAL NOTE: As a lifetime animal advocate I hope to meet other animal activists in the film industry who may be interested in producing a unique, high-concept feature film about animals. I have devoted the last ten years to developing this screenplay based on my life story rights and am looking to meet interested, like-minded people in the industry who share my vision of this powerful story that needs to be told. I can be reached at