September 11, 2015 | Posted in War Dogs
Smoky was a female Yorkshire terrier that was born around 1943. She was as courageous as they come and did her breed proud with her contributions during the war.
Smoky was a dainty package seven inches in height and 4 pounds in weight, she would have looked more in place cuddled in the lap of a doting master, she was a lap dog after all, instead of in the steamy jungles of New Guinea where she was found by an American soldier. She was soon adopted by Corporal William A. Wynne, who by the way is still around at the age of 91 and runs the websitewww.smokywardog.com
During the two years that Smoky spent with Wynne in the steamy jungles of New Guinea, she underwent privations that humans would balk at. Smoky was a part of a dozen aerial reconnaissance missions and won eight battle stars. Air raids on allies’ camps by the Japanese were common and Smoky survived 150 such air raids. Smoky was not an official war dog and therefore did not have any rations apportioned for her. Wynne shared his rations with his dog. Wynne called Smoky an “Angel from a foxhole” after she guided him through a hail of bomb shells landing on the deck of a transport ship. The incoming fire hit eight other soldiers that Wynne was standing next to.
Yorkshire terriers are a game little breed and Smoky lived eighteen months under combat conditions. She won the admiration and respect of all that came in contact with her. One of the most astounding feats of her endurance was to walk on coral for four months without any paw ailments. But what clinched her claim to everlasting fame was her contribution in building an airbase at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. She carried telegraph wire across an eight-inch wide pipe over a distance of seventy feet; at places she had an opening of only four feet through which she had to pass with the telegraph cable in her mouth. Smoky disappeared and for an agonizing twenty minutes nothing could be made out except that the cable was slowly but slowly moving ahead. Finally, the little terrier emerged from the other side of the pipe. She had saved men three days of digging by 250 crewmen who would have been exposed to enemy fire.
When not participating in battle, Smoky visited hospitals in Australia and Korea in order to cheer up the wounded soldiers. In doing so, she notched up the distinction of becoming the first therapy dog on record. She continued to work as a therapy dog even after the war ended.
After the war, Smoky retired to a life of fame in the United States. She is credited with stoking interest in the Yorkshire terrier breed. Today, yorkies are among the most popular dog breeds in America. Wynne and Smoky even had their own television show on Cleveland’s WKYC Channel 3, it was called Castles in the Air.
Smoky left the world to travel to the Happy Hunting Grounds on 21st February, 1957. She lies buried at the Rocky River Reservation in Lakewood, Ohio.