Meet Smoky, the Tiny World War II Veteran and "Best Mascot in the South Pacific"

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Since today is Veteran's Day, meet Smoky!

Smoky, a tiny Yorkshire Terrier, was found in a foxhole in the New Guinea jungle. Her owner, Bill Wynne describes how he came to be with Smoky:

"Smoky was found in the jungle foxhole by Ed Downey a friend ,who not liking dogs gave it to motor pool Sgt. Dare from whom I bought her the next day for two Australian pounds ($6.44 American) so Dare could get back in a poker game."

Smoky went with Wynne from then on and, in the course of eighteen months of combat with the 26th Photo Recon Sq., of the 6th Photo Recon Group, 91st Photo Recon Wing, 5th Air Force, Smoky was credited with twelve combat missions and awarded eight battle stars. YANK magazine named Smoky, "Champion Mascot of the Southwest Pacific Area in 1944."

More than a just mascot, Smoky became a war dog on Luzon in January 1945 when a taxistrip had to be crossed by a communications cable, requiring a culvert to be dug up. She was the main solution by leading with the wires through an eight inch pipe under the runway, and climbing through piles of sand accumulated along the 70 foot length.

Not to be stopped after that, Smoky became the first Therapy Dog (as investigated by Animal Planet) and found she was the first documented in that role. Smoky started in July 1944, at the 233rd Station Hospital, in New Guinea, where she accompanied nurses to see the incoming wounded and go on rounds with Dr. Charles W. Mayo of the Mayo Clinic. She didthis for twelve years, during and after World War II.

There is a special monument honoring Smoky was built after she passed in 1957, in Cleveland, OH. A new monument is planned for an expanded war memorial site in Veterans' Park that will honor more War Dogs.

Happy Veteran's Day!

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Today, the United States observes Veterans Day. Thank you to the men, women, and animals who have served our country and to those who continue to do so. Your bravery is inspiring and, of course, appreciated.

Veterans Have Bravery and Big Hearts

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Today on this Veteran's Day we here at I Has a Hotdog wish to showcase a very special program aimed at helping American troops in the Middle East get their furry friends back home to the United States. The SPCA International has a program called Operation Baghdad Pups which covers the costs of bringing a dog (or cat!) to the United States from Iraq or Afghanistan.

These dogs help emotionally support U.S. Armed Forces men and women in a time when they are away from their friends and families. On this Veteran's Day, take the time to thank a Veteran for his or her service and check out Operation Baghdad Pups if you are interested in helping reunite a fuzzy companion with a Veteran.