Labrador/Retriever Smokey from Jacksonville, Illinois earns her stripes as the nation’s top firehouse dog when she makes a brief cameo appearance on NBC’s “Chicago Fire” on Tuesday, May 6.
In October 2013, Smokey was named the winner of the “Chicago Fire” Top Dog Competition on NBC’s “Today,” following a nationwide vote on Today.com. The 4-year-old canine filmed the cameo on April 1 in Chicago with her firehouse companion, Todd Warrick, who is based out of Station 2 in Jacksonville, Ill. The walk-on coupled with a visit to the “Chicago Fire” set served as the grand prize of the contest.
Smokey claimed victory over more than 100 firehouse dogs nationwide that entered the contest, looking to fetch the guest spot on “Chicago Fire” and the appearance on “Today.” Among the three finalists, Smokey won the contest with 51% of the vote. Dempsey, a 2½ year-old Boxer/Mastiff mix from Indianapolis, came in second. Wilshire, a Dalmatian from Los Angeles, finished third.
Smokey received the “star treatment” for her role — being transported via limousine to the “Chicago Fire” set, earning a deluxe winner’s basket and recognition plaque, and even having a director’s chair emblazed with her name for down-time on the set.
As a 6-month-old puppy, Smokey was inside a home that was engulfed in flames. Eventually, her lifeless body was brought out and, with the aid of firefighters and a veterinarian, was kept on oxygen for three days, hand fed, and nurtured. Now she is a training tool for school children and the community as the firefighters have taught her safety techniques such as “stop, drop and roll,” among other civic duties the pooch performs.
“Chicago Fire” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT).