Troy Moth left his career as a successful fashion photographer and went to live in a cabin in some woods on Vancouver Island. Together with his adopted pooch Nikita, he has traversed Canada’s frozen wilderness, swum in pristine mountain lakes, and faced down bears – with Nikita’s untamed exuberance captured in Moth’s stunning photographs.
What’s the wildest thing you and Nikita have experienced together?
Besides the dozens and dozens of new landscapes and summits we've seen together, I'd say it would either be her run-in with a porcupine, or all the encounters we’ve had with bears this summer. Nikita has been guarding our farm from bears, with over 50 encounters this year alone. At first, she would just bark and do a bluff charge to scare them away but her confidence kept growing and growing, and now she chases them off at full speed, nipping at their heels as they run away. It's not something I'm really okay with, but it's definitely a wild moment to behold!
What was Nikita like when you first brought her home?
The previous owners kept her mostly in a crate in their apartment, giving her little to no exercise. They gave me her crate, and the blanket inside was soaked in pee. She was incredibly scared. It took me a full seven days before I could even pet her. She would hide in the corner and quietly growl at me. When I tried to put her collar on, she would get diarrhoea.
It took at least six months before I felt she had any actual trust for me, or would come when I called her name. I was fortunate that my studio was on a large farm with huge fenced fields, and every day I would let her free. As soon as I took her off the leash she would bolt away, running so far that I'd lose sight of her… but she would always return.
What’s her most endearing habit?
Must be her dinner time dance! She'll stand up on her hind legs and shake her front paws back and forth.
They say dogs and owners are often similar – what traits do you two share?
We can both be a bit wary of new people, especially when hiking alone, off-trail. If we hear footsteps we both will go quiet to listen, not moving until we are sure of what it is. Watching her being truly in the moment is one of the most inspirational things for me, and something I strive to do myself. She has taught me to live in the moment, and to forgive.
For more photos that will have you baying at the moon, check out Troy’s instagram here.
Photography: Troy Moth