As I was passing a pet shop in Ladysmith one hot summer's day, I saw what looked like a little golden teddy bear, lying in the window box. the bowl which was near to her contained no water She looked at me with dark almond eyes and yawned, Her tongue was almost black in color. I walked into the shop and enquired as to what breed she was and the price, She I was told was a Chow Chow I bought her and took her home, much to the delight of my two small sons. She was just six weeks old.
As the months passed Kim grew into a beautiful golden dog, She had the most loving nature and was always at my side. A better friend and watch dog I could never have had. The local Africans, were terrified of her, for she looked like a small lion.
By the time she was nine months old, she had become a mother, to seven smaller images of herself, except for one which was black and very much larger than his brothers and sisters. Kim took motherhood well but missed her romps with myself and the boys in the veldt. Soon new homes were found for her litter, and she was once again free to be with me.
One afternoon when she was about a year old, she showed just how faithful she was, She was walking through the bush with the children, when they came across a large snake basking in the afternoon sun. Kim barked a warning and stood between the boys and the now alert snake. As the snake's head started to rise, Kim pounced, catching it behind the head, she bit hard and shook the snake, as a cat would a mouse, the snake fought back wiping its long body from left of right. Kim grimly hung on not letting go of her deadly hold until the snake was dead. All the time the children were screaming at her to stop. We never found out what kind of snake it was, but Kim came off her ordeal scott free, and with repercussions for her brave deed.
On our weekend walks we would take her down to the Klip River, where she soon became a proficient swimmer. She would swim the width of the river climbing out on the opposite bank, to chase the rock rabbits that lived there. You could hear her grunts of joy as she sprang around like a mountain goat, She never hurt them and would return to us shaking her wet fur over any one that was within her reach.
When she was two years old we moved from Ladysmith to Durban to a small flat at the seaside. We were very lucky to be able to keep her in the flat. Soon she became a creature of the sea. There was no need to worry when she was not at home. All you had to do was look out of the window, and you could see her where she was playing with the children along the beach. She loved running in the cool water, barking as the waves chased her along the wet sands, then chasing the ripples back to the deeper water.
Many nights we would go swimming, there was no leaving her behind.she would follow me into the water, swimming by my side, grabbing hold of the back of my costume if she thought I was swimming out to far.
she never allowed the children into the water on their own, and kept them within a few feet of the shore. If one of them was bowled over by a strong wave, Kim would dive to the rescue, bringing up the little person screaming his lungs out. She would then tug on his shorts until she had him safe on the shore.

Often we would take her down to the Point Yacht Club for an early morning swim, This was when she would catch her fish for breakfast there wasn't a morning that she did not catch at least two fish, one for her breakfast and one for mine. They were never big fish but big enough for a light meal.
We would take her with us camping, She loved to ride in cars, Anyone's car that had an open door, was an open invitation for Kim to demand a ride. She would jump in regardless of whom they were and where they were supposed to be going. I would then have the battle of getting her out. Most people after their initial fright of having a strange animal jumping into their cars fell in love with her, her friendly tongue licking their surprised faces and often sitting on their laps.
As she grew older Kim was plagued by skin infections, brought on by her swimming in the sea, time after time her fur would fall out covering my carpets and the furniture in a soft golden down, but try as I would there was no way of keeping her out of the water. She developed chest problems, she also lost weight. We took her to Vet after Vet, trying to get her well. The only advice to me was to keep her out of the sea, and away from the sand, as it was termites in the sand that was causing her fur to drop out. But Kim was adamant, that
the sea was her life and she pined for the water. Any chance she could get, to slip out of the flat, when I was not looking and she was gone.
Kim lived with us for 8 years, a real Water dog.
The day came when I knew that things were getting progressively worse she was now going blind and was also deaf. I could not leave her to her own resources. I took her for walks in the park on her leash,
I was now her eyes and ears. Occasionally I would take her to her beloved sea.
It was there that one night on our evening walk in the sand that she stopped and looked at me, I sat down beside her in the cool sand and she put her beautiful head into my lap, growling and almost as as if she was talking to me. I knew the time had come to say goodbye to my precious friend. She closed her blind eyes and took her last shuddering breath. She had left me for a life full of peace. We buried her in a quite spot near the beach at midnight when no one was around. But although she is now gone, if you look hard you will see her paw prints in she sand as she roams the beaches at midnight