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Smokey

We would like to posthumously welcome Smokey, a heroic Parks Canada Canine

The 100-pound German Shepherd, with a huge personality to match, started his training with the RCMP, but the immature and headstrong Smokey, challenged the new handler to the point where he was pulled out of the training regime. Smokey was sent to Banff, AB for 6 months to mature under the watchful eye of park warden dog handler Scott Ward. Smokey and his handler subsequently successfully completed training in Innisfail. From a personality perspective Smokey was described as a “bonehead” by his handler, with a strong independence streak. He even challenged his handler about once a year as to who was boss.  He was sociable with the public, and kids could crawl all over him. Smokey always gave it his all, 120%.

Smokey spent his career working in Banff National Park from 1988 to 1994. Smokey was a very strong tracking dog with multiple successes on tracks for the RCMP, running down well over 25 suspects. One of his most memorable tracking incidents was tracking down an escaped prisoner from the Banff courthouse. The escapee ran from the courthouse to the Banff train station and then headed west on a very hot summer day. Smokey and his handler tracked the guy from Banff westward to Johnston Canyon, a distance of just over 25 kilometres!! The dog handler stopped numerous times and let Smokey jump into the Bow River to cool off before continuing the track. Ultimately the pair found their quarry, who was taken into custody.

Smokey was one of 4 dogs, 50 ground searchers and 2 helicopters involved in a difficult 4-day search for missing 4 cross-country skiers in the Healy Creek drainage north of the Sunshine Village ski area in February 1990. Temperatures during the search were below -30 degree Celsius and the site was heavily contaminated by destroyed mature timber, with spruce boughs everywhere. One of the dogs finally indicated on deep burials 1.5 to 1.8 metres down, resulting in 4 avalanche fatality recoveries from the avalanche deposit that was of historic proportions.

Smokey made several successful avalanche recoveries on his own, including in WaWa Bowl near the Sunshine Village ski area. Smokey retired to a park warden’s farm near Golden, BC where he lived out the rest of his life in peace and harmony.

We honour the life and work of Smokey, “the bonehead”, and welcome him to Ned’s Wishes Hall of Famers.  Thank you for the years of dedicated service Smokey!