One Tough Little Yorkie

When you think of service dogs, you probably think of bigger dogs like German shepherds or Labrador retrievers. But one of the first therapy dogs in the U.S. wasn’t a big dog at all; it was a little Yorkshire terrier named Smoky.

Credit: Bill Wynne

Corporal Bill Wynne bought Smoky for just $6 when he was serving in New Guinea in World War II. She accompanied him everywhere from the jungle to the battlefield. Thanks to her petite size, Smoky was able to help out the troops by stringing phone lines underground in the Philippines.

Credit: Bill Wynne

When she wasn’t helping on the battlefield, she was busy in the hospitals. Smoky accompanied the doctors on their rounds at an Army hospital in Australia. She helped provide the much-needed morale that these troops required.

Credit: Bill Wynne

After being in combat for 18 months, Smoky and her owner returned to the States and headed to Hollywood. They appeared on various live television shows for a span of 42 weeks, with Smoky never repeating a trick.

Credit: Bill Wynne

After a full, heroic life, Smoky sadly passed away in 1957. Although Smoky is no longer with us, her legacy continues to live on. There’s even a statue in her honor located in Cleveland, Ohio. But the biggest thing that Smoky leaves behind is the popularity of Yorkies. If it weren’t for Smoky and her impressive life, Yorkies might not be the trendy breed that they are today.

Become an Insider

Sarah Cookson

Writer/Dog Enthusiast living in New York City. Only goes to parties in hopes there will be a dog there to hang out with. Her resolutions for 2017 were to eat healthier and pet more pups. Bet you can guess which one she stuck with.