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Smoky - Yorkie Doodle Dandy
Smoky (c. 1943 – 21 February 1957), a Yorkshire Terrier, was a famous war dog who served in World War II. She weighed only four pounds and stood seven inches tall. Smoky is credited with beginning a renewal of interest in the once obscure Yorkshire Terrier breed.
In February 1944, Smoky was found by an American soldier in an abandoned foxhole in the New Guinea jungle. She was already a young adult Yorkie (fully grown). The soldiers initially thought the small dog belonged to the Japanese, but after taking her to a nearby prisoner-of-war camp they realized she did not understand commands in Japanese or English. Another GI then sold Smoky to Corporal William A. Wynne of Cleveland, Ohio, for two Australian pounds (equal to $6.44 at that time)—the price paid to the seller so he could return to his poker game.
Smoky's record in World War II
As described by Wynne, "Smoky Served in the South Pacific with the 5th Air Force, 26th Photo Recon Squadron [and] flew 12 air/sea rescue and photo reconnaissance missions." On those flights, Smoky spent long hours dangling in a soldier's pack near machine guns used to ward off enemy fighters. Smoky was credited with twelve combat missions and awarded eight battle stars. She survived 150 air raids on New Guinea and made it through a typhoon at Okinawa. Smoky even jumped from a 30-foot tower with a specially made parachute. Wynne credited Smoky with saving his life by warning him of incoming shells on an LST (transport ship), calling her an "angel from a foxhole." As the ship deck was booming and vibrating from anti-aircraft gunnery, Smoky guided Wynne to duck the fire that hit 8 men standing next to them.
In the down time, Smoky learned numerous tricks, which she performed for the entertainment of troops with Special Services and in hospitals from Australia to Korea. According to Wynne, Smoky taught him as much as he taught her, and she developed a repertoire beyond that of any dog of her day. In 1944, Yank Down Under magazine named Smoky the "Champion Mascot in the Southwest Pacific Area."
Smoky's tricks enabled her to become a hero in her own right by helping engineers to build an airbase at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, a crucial airfield for Allied war planes. Early in the Luzon campaign, the Signal Corps needed to run a telegraph wire through a 70-foot long pipe that was eight inches in diameter. Soil had sifted through the corrugated sections at the pipe joining, filling as much as half of the pipe, giving Smoky only four inches of headway in some places. As Wynne himself told the story when he appeared on NBC-TV after World War II:
“I tied a string (tied to the wire) to Smoky's collar and ran to the other end of the culvert . . . (Smoky) made a few steps in and then ran back. `Come, Smoky,' I said sharply, and she started through again. When she was about 10 feet in, the string caught up and she looked over her shoulder as much as to say `what's holding us up there?' The string loosened from the snag and she came on again. By now the dust was rising from the shuffle of her paws as she crawled through the dirt and mold and I could no longer see her. I called and pleaded, not knowing for certain whether she was coming or not. At last, about 20 feet away, I saw two little amber eyes and heard a faint whimpering sound . . . at 15 feet away, she broke into a run. We were so happy at Smoky's success that we patted and praised her for a full five minutes.”
Smoky’s work prevented the need to move 40 United States fighter and reconnaissance planes while a construction detail dug up the taxiway, which would have placed them in peril of destruction by enemy bombings. What would have been a three-day digging task to place the wire was instead completed by this little dog in minutes.
After the War
At the end of World War II, Wynne brought Smoky back to Cleveland to live with his family. For the long flight to the United States, Smoky was hidden in an altered flight oxygen mask carrying case. Upon their return, Wynne and Smoky were featured in a page one story with photographs, in the Cleveland Press on December 7, 1945.
Smoky soon became a national sensation. Over the next 10 years Smoky and Wynne traveled to Hollywood and all over the world to perform demonstrations of her remarkable skills, which included walking a tightrope -- while blindfolded! She appeared with Wynne on some of the earliest TV shows in the Cleveland area, including a show of their own on Cleveland's WKYC Channel 3 called Castles in the Air, featuring some of Smoky’s unbelievable tricks. Smoky performed in 42 live-television shows without ever repeating a trick. Smoky and Wynne were also very popular entertainers at the veterans' hospitals. According to Wynne, “after the war Smoky entertained millions during late 1940s and early 1950s." However, on February 21, 1957, "Corporal" Smoky died unexpectedly at the approximate age of 14.
Memorial at Rocky River Reservation
On Veterans Day, November 11, 2005, another memorial for Smoky was unveiled in Cleveland Metroparks, Rocky River Reservation in Ohio. The bronze life-size sculpture of Smoky sitting in a GI helmet sits atop a two-ton blue granite base. The monument is dedicated to “Smoky, the Yorkie Doodle Dandy, and Dogs of All Wars.”
The annual Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue (YTNR) "Rescues of the Year" are given the "Smoky Award" in honor of this famous rescue.
First therapy dog
Smoky’s work as a therapy dog continued for 12 years, during and after World War II.
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