Yorkie Doodle Dandy: World War II Dog Hero

This adorable dog, given the nickname Yorkie Doodle Dandy, became famous in history as a World War II dog hero for her brave acts and charming qualities. She weighed only four pounds.

The little Yorkshire terrier was found in an abandoned foxhole, dirty and hungry, in the New Guinea jungle. Ed Downey, who did not have a liking for dogs, discovered her and passed her on to a sergeant named Dare. Dare, who needed money for a poker game, sold the dog to Corporal William Wynne in March 1944 for two Australian pounds ($6.44 American) - a lot of money during that time. Wynne, a 22 year old Ohio native, named her Smoky, and the two spent the next 18 months together in combat. Unlike official war dogs, Smoky did not receive a balanced diet formulated for dogs or veterinary services. She shared Wynne's C-rations and an occasional can of Spam, and amazingly she was never ill despite the harsh conditions. Both Wynne and Smoky survived 12 combat missions, 150 air raids and a typhoon.

Smoky was awarded eight battle stars. One notable feat she performed helped save the lives of some 250 men and 40 planes, thanks to her small size. In January 1945, a communications cable was urgently needed to run through a 70 foot pipe under the runway at an airbase in Luzon. The pipe was only eight inches in diameter and was half filled with dirt and mold. Not having the proper equipment, the men pinned their hopes on Smoky to solve the problem. They tied kite string to her collar which was used to thread the wires through the pipe. Wynne coaxed her forward by calling her to come to the other side. Smoky was hesitant at first but made it through and the communication network was established. If it wasn't for the brave dog, dozens of men would have had to dig a trench to get the wire underground, putting their lives at risk from constant enemy attacks. What took Smoky only minutes to accomplish would have taken the men three days to complete.

Wynne, who had been around dogs all his life, credited Smoky with saving his life. While on a tank landing ship near the Philippines, under attack from enemy planes, Smoky guided Wynne to duck the fire that hit eight men next to him. He called her an "angel from a foxhole."

Corporal Wynne & Smoky

Not only was Smoky a hero, saving lives from the enemy, she helped make life a little easier for those going through a difficult time. Wynne had noticed what a strong and uplifting effect she had on the troops with her presence and personality like chasing after butterflies larger than her. Shortly after Wynne got Smoky, he was hospitalized for dengue fever. Friends would bring Smoky to see him, and the nurses - charmed by her and her story - asked if Smoky could visit other patients. During his five day stay at the hospital, Smoky would sleep with Wynne at night and make rounds during the day cheering up other patients. Wynne began teaching her tricks like walking a tightrope, riding a handmade scooter and spelling her own name by picking up letters as Wynne called them out to her. In the down time, Smoky performed her tricks to entertain troops with Special Services and in hospitals from Australia to Korea.

The effect dogs had on physically and emotionally wounded soldiers was catching on. Much the same way patriotic owners volunteered their dogs to fight in the war, they volunteered their dogs to help soldiers recovering in hospitals. By 1947, about 700 dogs were donated by civilians. According to Animal Planet, Smoky earned the distinction of being the first therapy dog on record.

At the end of the war, Wynne and Yorkie Doodle Dandy continued to visit hospitals to help recuperate soldiers back home. Smoky retired in 1955 and passed away two years later in her sleep at the age of 14. This famous and incredible war dog hero has six memorials honoring her.

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