Smokey is dearly missed by owners Frank and Leila Vladich


How we do miss our precious Black Labrador, Smokey, who entered our hearts when he was six weeks old and departed when he was ten years old!

What we miss the most is Smokey's wonderful communicative skills! He had such a large vocabulary that it was so easy to lapse into a conversation with him that my husband and I found ourselves constantly talking to him as well as communicating with hand signals. He responded by tilting his head and perking up his ears as if to say, "I'm listening; please tell me more." When we patted our chest, he'd sit down to wait for further instructions. If we'd tell each other that "I'll sit on the patio," Smokey would dash off to get a toy and be waiting at the patio door. If I'd tell Smokey that I was going to do the laundry, he'd meet me at the clothes hamper. If we held up one finger, he'd go to the Bone Jar. Two fingers signified that he would have to go to the Cookie Jar.

Speaking of doors, when Smokey was outside and wanted inside, he'd open the sliding screen door by moving it with his paw and then pushing it open with his nose. In the winter when the glass door was closed when he was outside, he would tap gently on the glass just one time and then sit patiently waiting for us to open the glass door. If he were inside and wanted outside, he would always tap once on the wooden shutters.

We do so miss the thump of Smokey's tail against the kitchen bar as he lay on his bed. It would only take a pat on the head or the words, "Good Smokey," to start the thumping. Then when we gave him a hug, his joy seemed to explode as he continued vigorously to thump his tail for several minutes.

Other memories we treasure are seeing him get a toy and go to his bed as soon as he realized that we had changed clothes in preparation for leaving the home for a short time or for a few hours, having him waiting at the side of the entrance door upon our arrival as he joyfully greeted us, listening to his deep bark which he only used when he knew a stranger was on or near the premises, watching him race around in the yard, seeing him enjoy his toys in the evening in front of the TV where he'd roll on his back and hold the toy in the air with his two front paws, and napping at all of his favorite places in every room in the house.

Smokey loved to entertain his two dog pals, Marvin and Moon. As a gracious host, he was always willing to share his toys and his treats with them. He soon recognized the sounds of our sons' trucks. As our daughter-in-law Paige said, "It didn't matter whether the pals came for just a few hours or stayed a couple of weeks, Smokey would always show his sadness by going to his bed when the pal was leaving."

In spite of the fact that Smokey suffered one ailment after another later in life, Smokey never complained and continued to enjoy his daily walks. When he was five years old, he had Valley Fever which was followed by a chronic liver disease, allergies, diabetes which required two insulin shots a day, and finally lung cancer. In addition, he had several surgeries to remove benign tumors, etc.

Much as Smokey loved eating fresh vegetables, licking table scraps, and eating treats, he learned so quickly to accept the fact that while he had diabetes he could eat only Prescription Diet food and treats because "the Doctor said so." It was also amazing to us that when it was time for my husband to give Smokey his insulin shot, Smokey would go to the kitchen bar and wait patiently for his injection.

Yes, we will always carry in our hearts the memories of the love that Smokey had for both of us, the excitement and enjoyment he had for his daily walks, and his loyalty and faithfulness to us as he followed us constantly wherever we went. We find comfort in knowing that one day we will follow him.

Smokey's parents, Frank and Leila Vladich

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