Smokey wins everyone's heart -- needing a forever home

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
photo provided by Julia Holmes

It is always amazing how looking in the sad eyes of a lost and hungry animal can soften the heart of the strongest human. That is just what Smokey the dog has done in Monette, as she came into the lives of the people around Julia’s Rescue Barbeque downtown.

Julia Holmes opened her barbecue business on the corner of Edmonds and Drew Avenues in Monette in March of this year. In April, she noticed a black dog coming near the barbecue trailer early in the mornings when she was firing up the smoker for the day's supply of barbecue.

Holmes has a deep affection for dogs and can spot an abandoned animal a mile away. She established her business with thoughts of helping out stray dogs in her area and donates 5 percent of her profit for that cause. She started putting dog food out for the lonesome looking dog and even named it Smokey, because it came near the smoker each day.

“Smokey would not let me pet her,” Holmes said. “I assumed she had been mistreated along the way somehow, and her trust had been broken with strangers. She is a beautiful dog, and looked like she was part border collie. I began watching her and noticed she was taking refuge under Greenway’s farm equipment down the street. I tried to make friends with her and wanted to catch her so I could take her to the vet and have her checked out, but had been unsuccessful.”

Julia’s Rescue Barbeque employee Syrena Duffel learned to love Smokey too and would often take food down to her at Greenway’s lot. One day Duffel looked out in front of her home on Nance Street and saw Smokey lying out under a tree nearby. She approached Smokey and the dog allowed her to pet her. This appeared to be a breakthrough of trust on the animal’s part.

“I would love to adopt Smokey, but I would need a fence around my back yard, and I don’t have one,” Duffel said. “Still I care for her and hope she will eventually get a good home.”

Before long Holmes and Duffel had won Smokey over and she would let them pet her uptown in the mornings.

“The whole town seems to be concerned about Smokey,” Holmes said. “They come by all the time and ask about her. When our business was closed people would come by and feed her. I put a donation jar and pictures of her near the window of the barbecue, and people have made donations for her food. I even received donations in the mail, as well as gifts of bags of dog food. I talked to city employees John Helm and Delbert Clayton for help in catching her, but they did not have a dog crate or carrier.”

At the request of Helm and Clayton the City of Monette purchased a dog crate and were successful in catching the dog. Smokey stayed at the city dog pound for a couple of days, then Holmes took her home with her. Holmes and her husband Mark live northwest of Lake City, near Dixie. She already has seven rescue dogs, and added Smokey to the mix. Holmes took Smokey to the vet and brought her shots up to date, but received the sad news that the dog had heartworms. The treatment would be very expensive, possibly $700 or more.

“When the word got out of the need for heartworm treatments people came by and made even more donations,” Holmes said. “I even received some money in the mail. We have raised over $500 so far for her treatments. It seems like Smokey has been adopted by the town. So many people care about her. When she finishes her treatment, I sincerely hope someone will adopt her.”

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