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Kirby Smart, The Golden

He’ll steal sandwiches directly from your hand. And keys. And butter from off the counter.

Kirby loves to swim with his humans.

The day of the butter incident was like any ordinary day in the Leftwich household. Kirby Smart the Golden was up to his usual mischief, and when his humans left the room, he jumped on the counter, devouring an entire pack of Kerrygold butter. His humans caught it all on their security camera and sent the footage to the company who proceeded to send him cases of butter and cheese of his own so he wouldn’t have to steal.

But Kirby’s habit of swiping food persists. As his human, Amanda Leftwich, says, “When people meet him, they think he’s sweet and innocent, but he’s a thief!” So, neighbors be warned, Kirby Smart, an English Cream Golden Retriever, is a trickster!

Since adopting the pup last September from Calhoun, Ga., Amanda has had a hard time keeping track of her shoes and even house keys. “I had been missing my spare for weeks, and one day Kirby walks in from the yard with the keys — he had them in his mouth!”

With humans who treat him more like family than a pet, Kirby Smart lives in “Dog Heaven.”With humans who treat him more like family than a pet, Kirby Smart lives in “Dog Heaven.”But he’s as lovable as he is uncouth. To the Leftwich family, Kirby came at just the right time — tricks and all. Conrad, their family dog of eight years had passed from cancer. Their two boys had grown up with Conrad, and something was missing in their lives. Then along came Kirby, and he filled that space in a way only animal lovers will ever understand.

They say, the size turtles can grow to is dependent on the size of their habitat. Where sea turtles can grow to weigh a ton due to the spaciousness of their environment, in the case of Kirby Smart, his personality is only as large as the attention he receives from his humans and their capacity to love.

With a large backyard and a swimming pool which Kirby enjoys diving into and splashing around with the boys, Amanda calls her home ‘Dog Heaven.’

“We don’t treat dogs like pets. We treat dogs like family, and so when someone comes over and doesn’t like him on the couch, we’ll just say, ‘Well, it’s his house!’”

After Halloween, Kirby’s flamboyance took on a life of its own through social media. Kirby was named after Kirby Smart, the Georgia Football coach, and so Amanda decided to dress him up as his doppelganger for Halloween. The photo, posted on Instagram, received 152 likes, and his account has close to 1,000 followers. Not bad for a fur ball.

“He definitely has some human-like characteristics and it’s become larger than life through social media,” Amanda said.

Conrad had quite the following, too, but it wasn’t until after he passed that she thought about what that meant.

“There’s something to be said for those dog posts on Instagram and Facebook. It’s a good break from everyday things. Dogs are like natural therapists. They have the ability to heal. And on social media, it’s something anybody can hop on and understand.”

Kirby’s journey with the Leftwich family can be traced scrolling through his Instagram. One of the first posts is of him as a small pup, drinking beside Conrad’s bowl. “I plan on being a big swimmer just like [Conrad]” the caption reads.

Kirby grows bigger in the pictures, and his voice becomes distinctly his own as his antics are posted more frequently through videos and meme-like images.

He had big shoes to fill — with a name like Kirby Smart that was inevitable. But the thing about Kirby is, he prefers to steal shoes, anyway.

He wears costumes on Halloween. He swims in the pool with his humans. Glasses and eyewear are some of his favorite chew toys. Kirby Smart is a ‘good dog that does bad things’, and he came at just the right time.

Kirby is a good dog who does bad things, and he came into the lives of the Leftwich family at just the right time.Kirby is a good dog who does bad things, and he came into the lives of the Leftwich family at just the right time.Follow Kirby on Instagram @kirbysmart_the_golden