After a long day of work, Richmonder Nick Kime comes home to a running, panting 6-year-old golden retriever — one who bounces into his arms, wiggling with excitement each and every day.
Video of Kime’s dog, Riley, jumping into his arms made waves after The Dodo, a website dedicated to animal stories, posted it to its Facebook page in late October. Now, the video has amassed over 1 million views and shots of Riley’s trick have gone viral.
“A lot of people think that was trained but honestly, the second he was old enough and big enough to spring and jump that high, he started doing it on his own,” Kime said.
Staffers at The Dodo reached out to Kime after seeing videos on Riley’s own Instagram account. The website created its video collage with various videos from there.
The three-minute video opens with Kime arriving home with groceries in one hand and catching a waiting Riley — who runs to greet him — with the other arm. Then the video shows the duo in their “together time” — doing things such as cooking, sharing a plate of noodles, playing, watching movies, brushing their teeth, and Riley again and again leaping into Kime’s arms whenever he sees him. The video closes with the two getting into their pajamas and Kime tucking Riley into bed for the night.
Kime never expected his dog to gain the popularity he has. When Kime met his fiancée, Kaitlyn Easter, in 2017, Riley’s Instagram account had a little over 500 followers. He remembers bringing it up with her when they first met, saying he’s willing to see where this account could take them.
Kime started the account in 2016, and now, Riley’s been featured on countless popular social media accounts, commercials and even national television shows. Riley’s Instagram account — hdbrosriley, Riley the Golden Retriever — has over 100,000 followers as of this week.
While Riley is Kime’s first dog, they were always a part of Kime’s life growing up. Kime knew Riley was special, like with his jumping bit, and he wanted to highlight that. As Riley’s account grew, the offers for commercials and TV appearances started pouring in.
Outlets such as CBS News, People, E! News, and “Good Morning America” have featured the pup on their programs. During that time, Riley made paid appearances on commercials for Carmax and Capital One. Riley is now working on an Instagram influencer campaign for a vacuum, Kime said.
About a year ago, Riley was featured on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” as part of her “Instant Mood Booster” segment. The 93-pound dog is seen hopping into one of Kime’s arms while he holds onto a handful of groceries in the other.
“[Ellen’s] just sitting in her seat and has like Riley’s videos playing in the background,” Kime said. “I was like OK, this is really cool.”
And just recently, the pup and Kime were featured on “Good Morning America” for his Halloween costume — he was a ghost. Riley is wearing a sheet while holding an orange candy bucket with his teeth and waiting for Kime to plop in some treats.
When Riley is not being spotlighted, he serves as the mascot for Kime’s employer, HD Bros, a real estate photography company based in the Museum District.
Riley can do more than jump and dress up. He loves to cook next to his dad, as shown in one of their more popular videos. Kime says Riley loves to be next to him when he’s making spaghetti, which is now a family favorite.
Kime adopted Riley at 6 weeks, and they have been inseparable since. He loves taking Riley out to Belle Isle or Brown’s Island and walking around the Fan District. Kime’s friends are used to Riley’s constant presence and continue to make note of it whenever they see Kime.
Almost everywhere Kime goes, Riley is trotting along with him.
“He really is my best friend,” Kime said.