Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, but few will be as small as Smokey the war dog. A Yorkshire Terrier who stood at just 7 inches tall, Smokey served in the Pacific campaign during WWII, helping many others along the way.
Smokey was found by an American soldier in the jungles of New Guinea in 1944. Shortly after he sold the Pup to Corporal Bill Wynn for $6 and 44 cents. Smokey stood by Bill during 150 air raids, 12 combat missions, and even saved him from an enemy attack. Her wartime feats earned Smokey eight battle stars.
The worlds first therapy dog
Smokey also spent time at a US army hospital. She accompanied the nurses on the rounds, making Smokey the worlds first therapy dog.
After the war, Bill and Smokey returned to Connecticut. Unfazed by her combat experiences, Smokey became a TV celebrity. She appeared on many TV shows, where her tricks included playing the drum, walking a tightrope blindfolded, and riding a scooter.
Remembering a hero
“Corporal” Smokey passed away unexpectedly in 1957, but, like all war heroes, her legend lives on. You can find Smokey memorials in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Hawai, and even Australia.
Other notable war dogs include Chips, the most decorated dog from WWII. Chips was a German Shepherd-Siberian Husky who served in 3rd Infantry Division during campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, and Germany. During one firefight chips broke free of his handler and took down an enemy machine gun position. His brave exploits earned him the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart. His story was made into a 1990 Disney movie called Chips, the War Dog.
Smokey is subject of two biographies and now surely deserves her own big screen adaptation.