World War II soldier Bill Wynne met Smoky while serving in New Guinea, where the dog, who was smaller than Wynne’s army boot, was found trying to scratch her way out of a foxhole. After he adopted her, she served as the squadron mascot and is credited as being the first therapy dog for the emotional support she provided the soldiers. When they weren’t fighting, Bill taught Smoky hundreds of tricks to entertain the troops. Smoky became a war hero herself at an airstrip in Luzon, the Philippines, where she helped save forty airplanes and hundreds of soldiers from imminent attack.
After the war, Bill worked as a Hollywood animal trainer and then returned to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. He and Smoky continued to perform their act, even getting their own TV show, How to Train Your Dog with Bill Wynne and Smoky.
Nancy Roe Pimm presents Bill and Smoky’s story to middle-grade readers in delightful prose coupled with rich archival illustrations. Children will love learning about World War II from an unusual perspective, witnessing the power of the bond between a soldier and his dog, and seeing how that bond continued through the exciting years following the war.
Nancy Roe Pimm is an award-winning author of nonfiction books for young readers, five of which have been Junior Library Guild selections. Smoky, the Dog That Saved My Life is her second book (after The Jerrie Mock Story) for Ohio University Press’s Biographies for Young Readers series. A native of Brooklyn, New York, with three daughters and two grandsons, Nancy lives in Plain City, Ohio, with her retired race-car driver husband, their two dogs, two cats, and python named Monty. More info →
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