Smokey Whitler

November 17, 1985 – Easter Sunday April 23, 2000

We called Smokey the wonderdog. He joined me (Ron) in the fall of while Celia and I were single. We were both busy working and building separate lives. Smokey went to youth group camp, to parties and to work at the church. As the years passed, he welcomed Celia into the family and they actually shared a house in Louisiana when I went to Texas to start work there. Celia and I counted his vocabulary once. He understood quite a few words. It’s amazing what a difference having lots of discretionary time to invest makes. One of my favorite memories of Smokey was of him singing with any choir that he heard, whether it was on the radio or on television. He declined kind of slowly and eventually died in our arms on Easter Sunday before our oldest son Max was born. There was something providential about losing such a great friend on the day we remember the Resurrection. Some friends came out to the spot by the Harpeth River where we laid him to rest on a beautiful Easter Afternoon. Smokey was the dog of “Dog Not Included,” the name we give our song publishing.

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