The Day Nahla Won Me Over

My whole life I’ve cohabitated with cats. I love how independent, coy, and mysterious they are. They’re spiritual animals that I believe acutely understand energy and that’s why they were deified in ancient civilizations.

It’s been a few years since the last family cat “Shahira” passed away at the ripe old age of 18, so I felt as though it was time to experience life with a dog.

I researched different dog breeds and chose a Shiba Inu who very clearly thinks she’s a fox. Meet Nahla, my little fox.
  • According to National Geographic, Shibas are the breed that’s most genetically similar to wolves, suggesting that it’s among the oldest domesticated dog breeds.
  • The Shiba is the smallest of the six original Japanese dogs (Akita Inu, Shikoku Inu, Kishu Inu, Hokkaido, and Kai Ken), and they go way back. All of the ancient Japanese breeds were bred before the 19th century and are part of the spitz family.
  • They’re tenacious hunters that were bred to go after boars, birds, and bears. They also have dense undercoats, which allow them to withstand cold temperatures – a particularly helpful trait for a hunting dog.
  • Shibas are known for being very clean dogs; they can often be found grooming themselves and licking their paws like cats. They also avoid puddles while walking. The dogs have self-cleaning coats that repel dirt, so owners don’t need to wash them as often as other breeds.
  • The Japanese have three words to describe the essence of a Shiba. Kan-i refers to the breed’s alertness and bravery; this awareness and confidence makes the Shiba a perfect watchdog. Ryosei means being good-natured, loyal, and obedient. Finally, soboku describes their easy, natural good looks.

It didn’t take long to decide on a Shiba. One of my good friends Nautyn Mckay who was a fierce Defensive End for the Alabama Crimson Tide and the BC Lions introduced me to the Japanese breeds through his own Akita Inu named Waapaask (Ojibwe for Polar Bear).

I fell in love with the breed immediately, but since I’m not ready to take on a 130lbs dog, the Shiba Inu weighing in at 20lbs seemed a perfect alternative. Although they are different breeds they have a similar look and share many character traits.

Japan has named them both National Treasures.

The little fox and I are getting along great in the first week and half. She’s cool with the crate, and understands “come”, “sit”, and “down” already. I try to teach her with love and projection of intention rather than repeating words a thousand times. I watch for the moments when I can see she’s receptive to learning. Nahla is making me a better, more intuitive person already.

I think I’m starting to understand the beauty of life with a dog.
Sebastian Clovis

Sebastian Clovis

Sebastian is the principal owner of Clovis Contracting, host of HGTV Canada's Save My Reno, and a resident home renovation and DIY expert on The Marilyn Denis Show. He believes everyone should strive to understand the mechanics of their home, tackle home improvement projects while at the same time being able to identify when it’s necessary to call in a professional.
Sebastian Clovis