Long Way from Home

Long Way from Home


On May 2007 Anne Smathers started the drive back home from Nebraska with one less passenger. While in town visiting a sick friend at the VA Hospital, Smokey, her beloved Blue Heeler escaped from her hotel room. Countless days of searching turned up nothing, but Anne did not give up hope.

It started with phone calls to The Nebraska Humane Society’s Lost and Found Department every two or three days. The employees religiously checked call logs and lists of stray animals that had come into the building. Every weekend for six months Anne placed advertisements in The Omaha World Herald with Smokey’s picture, hoping to get a phone call. “I’ve met some amazing people along this journey”, Anne stated. Susie McDonald, an employee at the hotel Anne was staying at, is one of those people. Susie has been on board from the beginning and was the contact person here in the metro area. She has taken hundreds of phone calls from people who had seen Smokey running or who were just offering a hand if needed. Susie was also responsible for the hundreds of flyers posted around town in area businesses, truck stops, and gas stations. She responded to sightings in Bellevue, Plattsmouth, and West Omaha. Fearful that a truck driver might have picked Smokey up, Susie drove to truck stops in Iowa and Missouri to post flyers. All were dead ends.

In November of that year, Susie received a phone call from a property owner at the Sky Line Ranches, stating that a dog matching Smokey’s description had been seen down by the horse barn. Susie put the woman in touch with Anne and sure enough, after verifying through pictures, it was Smokey. Anne was on her way back to Omaha before she even hung up the phone.

One afternoon, a woman walked into The Nebraska Humane Society with a grin ear to ear, and wanted to introduce herself as Anne Smathers. But more importantly she wanted to introduce Smokey. After six long months of running alone, fighting to stay alive, and terrified to approach humans, Anne was able to get close enough so that Smokey could recognize her. It took a couple of attempts, but Smokey has not left Anne’s side since. Because of Anne’s unwavering determination to find her dog, Susie’s relentless efforts, and the dedication of The Nebraska Humane Society’s Lost and Found Department, one long lost pet was returned home. Anne never gave up hope that Smokey would eventually get home. She is a true testament for all pet owners to never give up hope.


True story by Kendra of United States





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