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Smoky, the Dog That Saved My Life: The Bill Wynne Story

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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.

168 pages, Paperback

Published February 21, 2019

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About the author

Nancy Roe Pimm

7 books6 followers
Nancy Roe Pimm had volunteered as a docent for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in the 1980s. After taking an animal handling class, the zoo entrusted her with a vanful of critters to take to local school assemblies. Her favorite passengers were Minnie and Max, the opossums. Another docent duty was to lead zoo tours. While giving the tours, Nancy discovered her fascination with gorillas, especially Colo and her family. In 2007, Nancys book, The Heart of the BeastEight Great Gorilla Stories was published, and in 2011, Colos StoryThe Life of One Grand Gorilla.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Nancy now resides in Plain City, Ohio, along with her husband, Ed, who has retired from a career in racecar driving. Nancy has drawn from her experience as a pit crew member for her husbands race team to write her two other non-fiction titles, The Indy 500- The Inside Track and The Daytona 500-The Thrill and Thunder of the Great American Race. All four of Nancys books are Junior Library Guild Selections. She is currently working on her first YA novel.
Nancy and Ed have three wonderful daughters: Allison, Lindsay, and Carli, a son-in-law Rusty and a two very adorable grandsons, Tommy and Sammy. Nancy still loves to visit schools, but instead of sharing zoo animals, she shares her love of reading and writing. Nancy wrote her first book at age ten, and she brings it to the schools to encourage the students to believe in their dreams. You can reach Nancy through her web site at www.nancyroepimm.com

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Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
436 reviews1 follower
January 3, 2020
Good book for young readers. Cute dog, decent man. Some of the photos were difficult to make out. Great back matter. Didn't really grip me, personally, but I could see how for some, this would be great.

Odd that references to Bill Wynne's Catholic faith were made at the beginning and end of the book, but not so much when he was at war. I guess it mentioned him praying a couple of times when things got rough, but it mostly mentioned how he leaned on Smokey then. By the time I'd gotten to the last chapter, I had completely forgotten that he was Catholic. Not a big deal, just made me blink a little when it mentioned his strong faith and how it helped him at the very end of the book.
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1,304 reviews
August 1, 2019
I received a complimentary copy.


A story that any age can enjoy because it has heart and perseverance. I like the uplifting adventures and of course anyone with a love of dogs will enjoy Smoky. I was not aware of Bill Wynne until reading this book and I am so happy to have spent some time with them.
Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 reviews

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