Smoky the 4-Pound, 4-Legged War Legend

by Spunky


A Memorial Day tribute to veterans and the loyal war dogs who encouraged them … especially through times of turmoil.

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Smoky knew over 100 tricks. Unfortunately, talking wasn’t one of them.

In earlier posts, I may or may not have referred to that little red-headed Yorkie in my pack as my nemesis.

But we’re learning to get along. Especially now that my best-buddy Jasmine has gone to that big sunflower field in the sky. (I’m pretty sure there are no squirrels, cats or mail-carriers there.)

Actually, for a small overly inquisitive breed, Yorkies aren’t all that bad. Case in point is a famous little World War II era Yorky named Smoky.

She became part of WWII legends. She helped to shed light on war dogs and the role of man’s BFF during wartime and its aftermath.

In the midst of the war, a GI discovered Smoky in an abandoned foxhole in New Guinea. The smart, amiable and conveniently portable pup was small enough to fit into a soldier’s helmet, boots or duffel bag.

Smoky was soon adopted by another GI, Bill Wynne, an aerial photographer. He took the pup wherever he went, including 12 air-rescue missions. When Wynne was hospitalized, his buddies brought Smoky to visit. This cheered up Wynne and other wounded troops as well.

Smoky’s war-time work included pulling a line through a 70-foot culvert. This cleared the way for communications lines under taxiways used by airplanes. It helped to protect them from enemy fire. In another instance, when their transport ship was under fire, Wynne credits Smoky for saving his life. Smoky guided him away from the gunfire.

After the war, Smoky and Wynne continued their teamwork. Wynne had already trained the dog to do well over 100 tricks. Smoky earned her Wonder Dog moniker. She could climb ladders, walk a tight-rope blindfolded and spell out her name. After the war, the pair continued to visit, console and entertain wounded and hospitalized troops.

Dogs at Work

For years, war dogs of varied breeds have delivered all types of services to troops. They also brought companionship, comfort and camaraderie. Whether working on high-alert sentry duty, sensitive search and rescue operations, or critical logistics and communications tasks, dogs – in any season – deserve their reputation as man’s fiercely loyal best friend.

Memorial to Smoky and Other War Dogs

After Smoky died in 1957, Bill Wynne spent time in Hollywood training dogs for major studios. He also did research and development work for NASA, in addition to his work as a professional photo-journalist.

Wynne attended the 2005 dedication of a memorial to Smoky and other canine war heroes. Set on a black granite base, the memorial features a sculpture of Smoky sitting inside a soldier’s helmet. The base is engraved with this tribute:

To Smoky Yorkie Doodle Dandy and Dogs of All Wars

It’s located in Cleveland Metroparks, Rocky River Reservation, Lakewood, Ohio. It is surrounded by greenery and multi-purpose trails. Nearby, there is a plaque recognizing other famous war dogs. They include Stubby, Nemo, Caesar and Chips – a German Shepherd mixed-breed WWII canine-vet featured in the movie, Chips, the War Dog.

To chase down more information, follow these links:

“Yorkie Doodle Dandy” Memoire by William Wynne
About the Smoky and War Dogs Memorial
Westminster Dog Show Story About Smoky (Video)
SmokyWarDog.com, Bill Wynne’s Blog
Adopt a Military Working Dog

Not a bad legacy for a scrappy little Yorkie! I hereby resolve to be nicer to Yorkies and other fellow canines … at least for today, anyway.

Until next Memorial Day, or until the next time I get my paws on a keyboard. – Spunky

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