The Sumpter Valley Railroad has a new mascot, but operators of the historic steam train are hoping it goes home soon.
Crew members found the small stuffed puppy after train rides on the weekend of Aug. 28 and 29.
In an effort to reunite the animal with its owner, Depot Manager Kim Svaty made a post on Facebook:
“This precious much loved puppy was left at our Sumpter Depot ... Please help me find his home and much loved kiddo...”
“I just did a random first post, and the crew went crazy,” Svaty said.
Her son, Jace Svaty, started packing the animal around in his pocket as he went about railroad business.
Soon the animal’s adventures were documented with photos.
“From there it’s gone wild,” Kim Svaty said.
The first post was shared 89 times. Since then, the animal — Jace named it Smoky — has been posed in all sorts of places. Kim continues to post photos on Facebook in the hope that the animal’s owner returns to claim it.
In the meantime, Smoky has had quite the adventures.
It rode in the engine of the No. 19 steam engine.
Jace took it on the speeder, which pulls all the fire tools and a water tank behind the train.
Smoky posed on the front of the orange diesel engine called the Great Pumpkin. That photo was accompanied by this post:
“This is the engine we will be using for the Halloween Train, The Great Orange Pumpkin. Maybe my family will come again at Halloween and take me home. Have to say I’m really starting to like it here...”
In the last few weeks, Smoky helped clean out the fire box with Loretta Donnelly, and even experienced a staged robbery by the Gold Rush Bandits. Here’s what Smoky said about that — with the help of Kim:
“Ok friends tell me this isn’t the coolest thing ever!!! I got to meet the Gold Rush Bandits and even ride on one horse. This was their last run of the season but they are coming back next year. You gotta come meet them sometime, they are just the best.”
Anyone who has information about Smoky’s owner is encouraged to call the Sumpter Valley Railroad at 541-894-2268.