I Can Has Cheezburger?

Mischievous Farm Cat Turned Dog Whisperer Owns His Special Role At Sanctuary

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    Vertebrate

    "We argued about it continually, and I would say, 'No, you're not going outside,'" Jo said. "So he ripped up the carpets in front of the doors, and he ripped a hole through the window screen."

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    Dog

    Yet, Smokey seemed to scheme a way out for himself and others inside. The exterior doors had handicap-accessible levers, and Smokey may have thought that he could open the door if he jumped and grabbed the handle. Although there was no comment from Smokey, Jo emphasized that the front door was wide open when she came home from work one day.

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    Dog

    "At that time, there were three other cats in the house that hadn't been outside—they were all outside. He let everybody out," she exclaimed. "So, now, I put the deadbolt on so he can't open the door."

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    Plant

    Regardless, Smokey still gets his fair share of the outdoors. He is a member of Serenity Farm Virginia's unofficial welcoming committee. "If visitors come and he's outside, he suddenly appears," she said. "He greets everyone—especially children—by rolling on his back, rubbing up against them, and playful nibbling on fingers.

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    Cat

    For years, Jo also fostered Golden Retrievers—nearly three dozen of them—and Smokey personally welcomed each of them with his gregarious charm.

    "He goes right to the new arrival," she expressed. "He rubs on them almost like he's greeting them and trying to comfort them in their new place."

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    Cat

    For example, Jo fostered a puppy with severe hydrocephalus. This debilitating condition makes it "impossible" for a dog to settle down.

    "She constantly jumped and paced because of the nature of the disease," Jo explained. Smokey, however, seemed to have the magic touch that could cut through to the core of the suffering pup.

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    Cat

    "He was rubbing on her and purring, and she was sitting absolutely still," Jo illustrated. "The only time she was calm was when Smokey was with her."

    Smokey is also experienced in the art of midwifery, as he was involved in many of the first moments in the lives of Golden Retriever pups born in Jo's house. Smokey will often enter the whelping box designed to protect precious puppies to give his assistance to the very proud mothers.

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    Cat

    In one instance, Smokey cared for an expectant mother by crawling into the whelping box and "curled up next to her." After she had the puppies, "while she's nursing, he's laying right there next to them," Jo said. "Once they were weaned and moved into their own pens, he used to hop in there with them, and they would drag him around and pull on his tail, and he would put his whole head in their mouths."

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    Although Smokey is getting older and spends much more time sleeping on Jo's bed, he's left a mark on the many residents and visitors at the sanctuary farm. Even if passersby are unfamiliar with the latest arrival at Serenity Farm Virginia, as Jo says, "everybody who comes here knows Smokey."

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About the Author

Mariel is the resident cat lady, and she's very serious about that role. Her cat is always curled up on her lap during Zoom meetings, and yes, she will call attention to it and make sure everyone notices. Second only to cats, writing is her passion. It only makes sense that she writes content about animals for a living. She also likes nature, excessively large mugs of coffee, and lemony deserts.

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About the Author

Mariel is the resident cat lady, and she's very serious about that role. Her cat is always curled up on her lap during Zoom meetings, and yes, she will call attention to it and make sure everyone notices. Second only to cats, writing is her passion. It only makes sense that she writes content about animals for a living. She also likes nature, excessively large mugs of coffee, and lemony deserts.