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The Story of Nizhoni

Last month, we shared news about the Navajo Nation’s Hard Rock Chapter House in northern Arizona which had just received solar and energy storage thanks to our friends at Sunnova. At the end of that email, we suggested you stay tuned for the story behind the adorable puppy shown in one of the photos.

That sweet little girl showed up the second day we were on site on the Navajo Reservation. She was dusty, dehydrated and malnourished but also gentle and affectionate, and she followed us everywhere. I removed three huge, blood-filled ticks from her, and a couple of my colleagues from Sunnova and I gave her water and some dried meat we had brought for snacks. Naturally, we all fell in love with her and debated which of us could possibly adopt her. I already have five rescue animals—some of which might not welcome a dog her size, but Brent, my colleague from Sunnova, said he had been wanting to adopt a dog.

Brent asked Christina, the woman who manages the Chapter House if anyone owned the puppy and if it was possible to adopt her. Even though he had to wait until the next day for an answer, we left the Reservation that evening feeling very optimistic—so much so that after our 90-minute drive back to the hotel we stopped for Brent to buy puppy supplies.

The next day on the Reservation was our last and it was very windy with dust blowing everywhere. Brent received the OK to adopt the puppy, so we eagerly waited for her to show up. When, after several hours, she hadn’t, we began searching around nearby buildings and in the surrounding fields of sagebrush. We all had long drives ahead of us followed by plane rides back to our respective homes, so when we had to leave the Reservation without having found her, we all felt dejected.

The next day, a member of the team installing the solar panels on the roof of the Chapter House spotted the puppy. Brent was already a two-hour drive away in Flagstaff expecting to fly home to southern California, when he received the call. Christina kindly put the puppy in her car and drove to meet Brent halfway. Brent canceled his flight, jumped in his rental car, drove back onto the Reservation and became the proud owner of the puppy we’d all fallen in love with.

Today, Nizhoni (which means Beautiful in Diné, the Navajo language), sports a shiny coat, has filled out and loves to romp and play with Brent in her new home. Christina told Brent that the Navajo people believe dogs exist on this Earth to protect humans and that they choose their companions. Brent feels lucky Nizhoni chose him.


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