Smokey Dog

When Joyce Dillon called The Columbia Star to see if the paper would run a story to help the Animal Protection League (APL) find Smokey the German Shepherd a home, I happened to be the one who answered the phone. I listened to her tell Smokey’s story, tears filling my eyes.

I grew up with German Shepherds, as a matter of fact, when I was about six years old, we had a Smokey whose self-appointed task in life was to protect my baby brother. He would tug my brother by the diaper or stand in front of him to keep him from wandering out of our yard.

Smokey’s story tugged at my heartstrings. I went home that evening and told my husband, Hugh about him. He asked me, “Does this mean you want to rescue him?”

I wasn’t sure. We just bought a house with some land, but we are still in the middle of moving. We have a lot of projects going on right now. I put the idea on the back burner of my mind.

Saturday I had a family reunion to attend and Hugh was unable to go with me due to a recent back injury. While I traveled to North Carolina to visit with family, apparently Hugh was busy on the telephone. I received a call from him as I drove, asking me more questions. I finally asked him, “What have you done now?”

“Well, how do you feel about meeting with Joyce Sunday at 1 p.m. to meet Smokey?”

Still a little unsure about taking on this responsibility, we set out Sunday to meet Smokey at his temporary foster home with Rosemary Calhoun and Robert Adams who have been involved with APL since it was established in 1982. We chatted with Joyce for a few minutes before she brought Smokey in to meet us. He entered regally, walked around us for a bit, allowed us to pet him and give him a treat. When after just a few minutes, he decided I was his friend and plopped his large, furry body promptly at my feet, lay his head on my knee, and looked up at me with those sad, sweet eyes, my heart was his. All doubts left, I knew then and there I had found a new friend.

Smokey loves to be loved on and petted, but is mostly content to just be there, a companion and friend. He decided the first night with us that I belong to him, so he slept in the floor on my side of the bed, lifting his head occasionally to check on me, making sure I was still there. He follows me around the house as I go about my daily business, once in awhile asking for a pat or a kiss, but mostly just content to be in the same room with me.

Smokey has excellent house manners and asks politely to go out when he needs to, then hurries back inside to hang out and watch TV or nap beside the sofa. He is so calm and peaceful to be around, he makes us feel calm just having him around.

Smokey is settling in nicely to our laid-back lifestyle. He has met Blue and Maxine, our parakeets, he startled them a little when he sniffed at them and they startled him with their flapping around. They have agreed to co-exist, giving each other a wide berth for now.

Hugh and Smokey are quickly becoming inseparable buddies. Smokey rides along in the car with Hugh as they run errands, they both enjoy the same TV shows, treats, and taking naps. As long as there are no arguments over the remote, I believe we are destined for a long, happy life together as a family.

After the article ran in last week’s paper, Joyce said she received over 50 of calls from people inquiring about Smokey. We are grateful to the folks at Animal Protection League for allowing us the privilege of sharing our home with Smokey.

For information on adopting a furry friend, contact the Animal Protection League of SC at 783-2119, email, or visit

Check out Smokey's Facebook Page at

August 15, 2011 update... I received the following email from our contact at the Animal Protection League... she writes...

I saw the article in the Columbia Star featuring Mr. Smokey last week.  It was just adorable.  I was delighted to see that he is settling in nicely and looks so very happy.  Thanks again for giving him a second chance at life. 

I contacted Smokey's old family to let them know about the article and they had already seen it.  I was told that the husband was estatic over the picture.  The family is very grateful for Smokey's life being spared.   

In today's State newspaper, it lists the husband as passing away over the weekend.  His last happy moment was seeing Smokey chilling out in his shades.    He joined his wife who had passed away about 3 weeks ago. 

I hope this makes you feel as good as it made me to know he died at peace knowing Smokey is in a good place 

Here's the pic that ran, and that the Smoke-meister's previous owner saw that made him so happy

Smokey Beats the Heat... Smokey chills out Wednesday morning  before the weather reaches 104 degrees, and he goes back in the house for his daily nap. Smokey, a German shepherd was rescued by the Hugh and Pam Staples after his owners of seven years were too ill to care for him anymore. Smokey has adjusted well and loves his new home.
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