Smoky brings new meaning to Shakespeare's often quoted phrase…
And though she be but little, she is fierce
One of the most famous Yorkshire Terriers in history was undoubtably Smoky, a 4-pound Yorkie loved and owned by William Wynne. She went from tapping at death's door from starvation to world acclaim. And along the way she struck a blow for female equality!
Bill Wynne, a 21-year old airman from Cleveland in MacArthur's 5th Air Force, purchased Smoky - a four lb. Yorkie - for 2 Australian pounds ($6.44) so the owner could get back in a poker game while in a foxhole on the island of Papau New Guinea in March of 1944.
During the next eighteen months Wynne and Smoky survived air raids, typhoons, and a dozen combat missions.
When Wynne contracted dengue fever, he was sent to a military hospital and of course, his buddies smuggled Smoky in to see him. The nurses noticed how much he improved after her visits and asked him to allow her to visit other hospitalized soldiers. At that moment the concept of therapy dogs in hospitals was born.
Corporal Wynne taught her a repertoire of tricks and was soon touring military hospitals after Wynne’s tour was over.
Along the way Smoky pulled communication wires through long tunnels, allowing much needed message to be sent to the front. She also parachuted from a tower in her own custom parachute. Smoky passed at the age of 14 in her sleep.
William Wynne, who was also an accomplished photographer, wrote an autobiography about his life with Smoky. It is a riveting story.
Read more of Smoky’s inspiring story in The National Geographic War Dogs Series. MORE ON SMOKY THE YORKIE WAR HERO
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