Smoky the War Dog

(Special note: Zoom link for 11/9/21 lecture:

In January 1944 a most remarkable story was about to unfold in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.  A soldier by the name of Ed Downey was driving his Jeep down a jungle path when the motor suddenly stalled.  While Ed fiddled with the engine trying to get it restarted he heard a noise nearby, and when he went to investigate he found a dog trapped in an abandoned foxhole.  He rescued it and took it back to camp where it wound up being sold to his tent-mate Bill Wynne.

Bill loved dogs and was an accomplished animal trainer.  He taught”Smoky” over 200 tricks she used to entertain the troops between missions and for which she was chosen the #1 Mascot of the South Pacific.  When Bill was hospitalized with dengue fever Smoky was brought to him and the effect she had on him and other patients inspired the idea of bringing trained dogs into hospitals to help with the healing process.  Smoky is now credited as the worlds first official Therapy Dog of record.

It was in the Philippines though that she achieved her greatest fame by pulling much needed communication cables through an underground pipe thereby saving the lives of potentially hundreds of soldiers.  Smoky was an amazing dog, and all the more so when you learn she was a tiny 4 lb. Yorkie!

After the war she returned to the States with Bill and became a popular celebrity in Cleveland performing on early TV and in shows until her passing in 1957 at the age of 14.  She is now buried at her monument in the Rocky River Reservation in Westlake Ohio and has been memorialized in books, magazines, and even on national television.

To learn more about this remarkable Yorkie and her owner/trainer Cpl. Bill Wynne you can order copies of his book “Yorkie Doodle Dandy” from Amazon.  It is a story that will warm your heart and inspire your love of dogs!

This is me with Mommy and Corporal Bill Wynne wearing Smoky’s actual coat made for her by the nurses in Australia in 1944.  What an honor!