“I promise to make sure that every day she has left is her best day ever”
By Nathan Swinney
Editor's Note: Sometimes it takes a kid to get to the core of what matters. When it comes to bird dogs, we think 10-year-old Nathan Swinney’s story says it all. Kim passed away not long after this story was published. Let’s keep making more places for upland gamebirds to fly, wildlife to roam … and bird dogs to romp.
Have you ever noticed how the best stories are about boys and their dogs?
You have probably heard about Travis and Old Yeller, of Billy Coleman and his redbones, or Timmy and Lassie. But I bet you have never heard the story of me and my dog, Kim.
Kim came all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to be a mama dog at Wildrose Kennels, in Oxford, Mississippi. My Dad worked there and sometimes I got to go and spend time with the dogs. Kim was always my favorite, and she would always be so excited to see me.
When Kim retired as a mama dog in 2017, I got to bring her home to stay. She has been by my side ever since.
From the first day I met Kim, I knew she would be the best friend I would ever have. The day we got to bring her home I was the happiest kid in the world. When Kim lived at the kennel, my dad would take her hunting, a lot. But when she came home, Kim knew she was my dog and would only respond to her commands if they came from me.
From the time we wake up, until the time we go to bed, we do everything together. We like to take walks, play football, swim, hunt and fish. She is always there for me, either to play with me or to make me feel better when I am sad. I know I will never have another friend like Kim.
When she lived in the United Kingdom, Kim was a Field Trial Winner, and her name was “Silversnipe Reformer.” She was an excellent hunting dog, with great intelligence, speed, and a nose that could find any bird, anywhere.
Now Kim and I go on long hunts around our farm, every day. In her life Kim has retrieved more birds – ducks, quail, pheasants and dove – than I can count. But now she even retrieves my squirrels!
Kim was with me when I killed my first dove and has been on every adventure I have been on since. I wish I knew about all the hunting adventures she had before she was my dog, but I think her best hunting memories have been with me. I feel like I waited my whole life to have a dog like Kim, and she waited her whole life to have a boy like me.
Kim is almost 12 years old now. She has been a special part of my life. I promise to make sure every day that she has left is her best day ever. I am sure I will have more dogs, and more friends, in my life. But I will never have another dog, hunting companion or friend like my dog Kim.
Nathan Swinney is 10 years old and lives in Alabama.
Lead and last photos courtesy of Katie Behnke. Dove shoot and fishing photos courtesy of Anna Swinney.