War Zoomies

Smoky was not your typical soldier. Standing at only 6 inches tall and having 4 legs, she saved the lives of hundreds of US soldiers during WW2. The Yorkshire terrier took part in 12 combat missions, survived 150 bombing raids and was the recipient of 8 battle stars.

Cpl Bill Whyne was a soldier stationed in New Guinea during the pacific campaign, serving in the US Airforce 26th Reconnaissance Division. In February 1944, he purchased Smoky, a small fully grown Yorkshire Terrier, for $2 after she was found in a foxhole by another soldier. The pair immediately formed a close bond and ended up travelling everywhere together. Smoky would spend her nights curled up on Cpl Whyne’s blanket, sharing his C rations and the occasional can of spam.

The pair survived together through grim conditions including equatorial heat, bombing raids and even a cyclone. Smoky grew to be loved by everyone and even became a member of Special Services (the entertainment branch of the US military), where she learned to perform tricks and comfort battle-damaged men - consequentially becoming the world’s first known therapy dog.

Whilst serving in Luzon, Philippines, Smoky played a critical role in safeguarding the lives of 250 soldiers as well as 40 allied aircraft after she ran a vital communications cable through a 21m 4-inch diameter culvert under a runway. Her small unwitting act of heroism prevented what would have been a 3 day long digging task, It also allowed the vital airbase to remain operational.

After the war, Smoky went on to entertain millions with her tricks, starring in Hollywood and performing for veterans. She died at the age of 14 and was buried alongside her fallen comrades in an ammo box in Lakewood, Ohio. 50 years later, on Veterans Day, November 11, 2005, a bronze life-size sculpture, by Susan Bahary, of Smoky sitting in a GI helmet atop a two-ton blue granite base, was unveiled there. It is placed above the very spot that Smoky was laid at her final resting place. This monument is dedicated to “Smoky, the Yorkie Doodle Dandy, and the Dogs of All Wars.

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