Today’s story is about our eldest granny dog, Kimber!
When we moved to Quesnel in 2008, Tim and I began the process of planning how we would develop our breeding program. I had been working full time away from home, so it had been several years since our previous litter- since I do not breed when I am not available to care for puppies 24/7. With considerable planning and research going into what would be Twig’s first litter and which stud dog we would use, we kept coming back to Prairiestorm Hawk, who was owned by my friend Danielle, and who had already had an impressive start to his hunt test and obedience trial career.
The litter was born in January of 2009. The plan was that I would choose one of the yellow females to keep for myself and would be an agility and breeding potential candidate. As the puppies grew and developed, I was drawn to a dark yellow female and decided she would be my pick. I named her “Beretta”. On puppy matching day, Tim came out of the puppy room with a different puppy- the ‘snow white’ female with a blue collar. He said ‘This one keeps looking at me!” So, we ended up keeping both puppies, and the lighter puppy was dubbed Kimber.
Kimber was a very good retriever from a young age. She was super birdy and was hunting grouse by about 5 or 6 months old. She loved to swim and as we lived by the river, she could get lots of swimming time. Tim would often float down the river with his snorkle gear on, watching the fishes, and Kimber would swim along side him, and occasionally try to catch a ride by climbing on his back!
Due to her pale color and speed, Kimber’s original nickname was “White Lightning”. She also eventually became known as Slider- based on her dock diving technique. I guess nobody told her that her sister Sable was a dock diving legend, because when Kimber first started dock diving, she would run to the edge of the dock and then slither in like a snake. Her personal best was like 1’4″!
Lots of what we’ve learned about dock diving training can be credited to Kimber. Because we wanted to help her enjoy it, we figured out some ways to teach this game in small steps. Last year at age 10.5 she earned a personal best of over 20 feet!
Most of Kimber’s training has actually been for hunting. She is an pro at both grouse and shed antler hunting and is pretty solid little duck dog too. Kimber still competes in agility and nosework periodically and runs with the dog sled team. Tim says her next sport is rally obedience so she might just give that a whirl in the coming years too!
Kimber is probably best known for her kind and gentle marshmallow nature, her kangaroo like hop, for always greeting visitors with something in her mouth (toy, spoon, shoe… whatever’s handy)- and also for her exceptional puppies. Her puppies have done everything from agility to obedience, hunt tests and field trials, search and rescue and I there are many who are wranglers of tiny humans in their jobs as family dogs! Her first litter was sired by Ace – 4 yellow puppies we called the “Golden Girls” litter. She had 3 litters sired by Chester- the “How I Met Your Mother” litter, The “Glee” litter, and the two-puppy litter of Laverne and Shirley. Her last litter was her Harvey-sired “Transformers’ litter. Famous Kimber babies include Carly- the multitime top AKC agility lab and the first Lab to ever earn the Agility Grand Champion award; Sidney- the first Eromit lab to ever earn the Grand Master Hunter title, Say Dee- a top obedience and rally competitor in Alaska, Hazel the Hero search and rescue dog, Walter the field trial star, and momma Spice- our co-owned coco-loco dock diving and nosework wonder dog who will be trialling in agility in the near future!
As the senior granny in the household, Kimber now prefers assisting with puppy socialization only when they puppies are very tiny, or when they have grown past about 4 months of age. She is over dealing with the sharky-puppy phase and has passed that baton to younger grannies. Her most favorite activities now outside of formal training are hiking, swimming, and kitchen cleanup duties!