Bill Wynne has had dogs all his life. Having had six lessons in Obedience training in Cleveland in 1942 his experience when he obtained Smoky a four pound Yorkie in New Guinea in W.W.II was indeed limited. The basic obedience trials with the bright Smoky was accomplished in two days off the leash with the tiny dog, who was no taller than the top of Bill’s GI shoes. She worked to near perfection. Together, the two worked by trial and error. Soon Smoky was playing dead, running between Bill’s legs as he walked along. She learned to walk on a drum and peddle a scooter made of an orange crate, and control cabel pulleys for wheels from a P-38. Using airplane scrap control wires mounted on a wood frame, Smoky was soon walking on a tight wire blindfolded.
The ultimate trick was spelling her name out of letters by actual recognition, no matter how they were placed. The letters were cut from empty, 16″ by 20″ cardboard boxes, used for holding photographic paper. The scooter and letters fit in the cut-down, photo-chemical drum. For carrying in Bill’s barracks bag when they were advancing in the island-hopping toward Japan.
They performed for their buddies and at Army and Navy Hospitals. Many of these tricks are used today in Agility trials. For example in Agility dogs weave through pickets, and run through a flexible tunnel. Sixty Years ago Smoky climbed ladders and went down them or slid down a sliding board. Smoky and Bill were in show business for 10 years after the war doing the tricks Smoky learned overseas, all set to music. Bill worked In Hollywood for a short time after the war, training and handling dogs in major studios.
Bill is retired after 50 years of professional photography. After his experience in the 26th Photo Recon Squadron, he spent 7 years with the National Advisory Committee For Aeronautics (now NASA) flying flight icing research missions and working on other research programs, testing and developing equipment, still used in modern aircraft. Bill worked as a photo journalist and photographer/writer with the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER for 31 years and returned to NASA for four more years before retiring to write his memoir, Yorkie Doodle Dandy.