They have gone fishing together, trick-or-treated on Halloween, had sleepovers, gone for hikes. And they both love to swim and splash in the water, whether it’s a lake, the ocean or a hotel swimming pool.
But what makes the relationship a little different is that Kylie Brown’s companion waddles and quacks. Though Snowflake is a duck, he appears to believe that the little blond-haired girl is his mother.
Kylie and Snowflake have been the center of attention during visits to schools and assisted-living facilities, and caused double-takes at the beach and in office buildings. Now the 6-year-old Freeport girl and Snowflake are about to become national television celebrities.
On Sunday, Kylie and Snowflake will appear on Steve Harvey’s “Little Big Shots” show on NBC.
Harvey tries to showcase the world’s most talented kids and their unique gifts. “Little Big Shots,” which airs at 8 p.m., is produced by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and Harvey, who also hosts “Little Big Shots.”
Kylie’s parents, Mike and Ashley Brown, said “Little Big Shots” flew their family – and Snowflake – out to Los Angeles in July to film the segment.
Snowflake even got to fly on the airliner – in a pet carrier – and behaved well, Mike Brown said. Once there, Kylie and Snowflake were pampered like movie stars, getting their hair done – in Snowflake’s case it was his feathers – by makeup artists for NBC.
Kylie, who attends first grade at Morse Street Elementary School in Freeport, has taken all the attention in stride.
“Right from the beginning, it has been more exciting for us as her parents than for Kylie,” Brown said. “She’s still young and doesn’t realize how important all this is.”
HOW A DUCK JOINED THE FAMILY
The story of the little girl and her duck began almost two years ago, when Brown’s co-worker picked up three ducklings from a hatchery and gave one to Brown. The friend had to order three but only wanted two.
“When we got home, we went into the bathroom and Snowflake just jumped on Kylie,” Brown said. “Snowflake imprinted on her. The duck believes that Kylie is its mother.”
Snowflake waddles behind Kylie as the girl moves around the house and the family’s backyard off Wardtown Road in Freeport. Snowflake, for obvious reasons, must wear a diaper whenever he is indoors.
And there are very few places where the duck doesn’t accompany Kylie. Snowflake has been on family outings to Winslow Park in Freeport, Florida Lake, a preserve in Freeport, and to Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal. Kylie has taken Snowflake into retail stores in downtown Freeport, and the duck has even accompanied the family on canoe trips, floating alongside as they paddled and fished.
Kylie and Snowflake went trick-or-treating on Halloween. She dressed the duck up as Olaf, the character from the movie “Frozen.”
Snowflake waits in the yard for Kylie to get off the school bus each day. In one video, the duck waddles up to the bus door just before she gets off.
The Browns have taken the duck to Deering Oaks Pond, where he swam briefly with other ducks before heading back to shore to be with Kylie. Snowflake has visited with residents of Gorham House, an assisted-living facility, and gone fishing with Kylie and her 2-year-old sister, Avery.
The duck is not allowed in school buildings, unless it’s for a special occasion like an assembly last year honoring Kylie for her kindness to animals.
Kylie and Snowflake were on national TV once before. A year ago, “CBS Evening News” showed a video of the pair that was viewed online more than 10 million times.
When Kylie’s parents are at work, her grandmother, Gail Carver, cares for her.
She said Kylie treats her duck with love and kindness and that the bond between girl and duck is astonishing. Kylie frequently gets light pecks on the cheek and lips from Snowflake and Kylie is the only person who can gather the duck in her arms and carry him.
“He’s a funny, funny duck. He really is,” Carver said.
The family has pictures of the two taking naps together, and a video of Kylie singing Snowflake a lullaby as the duck lies on her belly. In one adorable photograph, Kylie sleeps on her back with Snowflake’s head – his eyes are closed – lying on her right shoulder.
QUACKING, SPLASHING LIKE DUCKS
Much of the time, however, there’s a lot of quacking when the pair are together.
“She talks to him (like a person), but mostly she quacks,” Carver said.
“I like to splash like a duck,” Kylie said as she tromped through a puddle in the backyard with her striped rain boots.
Kylie knows when Snowflake is happy.
“Whenever he wags his tail, he is happy,” the 6-year-old said.
Kylie has learned a lot caring for Snowflake.
She doesn’t feed him bread because it swells in his belly. Instead, Snowflake lives on duck food, frozen peas, blueberries and fish. Kylie tries to keep his outdoor, inflatable pool filled with water. At night, he sleeps in an enclosure behind the house.
The pair seem to be inseparable. The family doesn’t have to worry about the duck wandering away because he doesn’t let Kylie out of his sight.
“He thinks Kylie is his mother,” Carver explained. “But it goes both ways.”
“I love him. He is my best animal friend,” Kylie said.
Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: