On Friday, Oct. 5, the showroom of Green Lincoln on West Wendover Avenue was packed with dancers, business people and one dog – a self-described “mutt of indiscriminate origin,” Super Smiley.
The event was a ribbon cutting and fundraiser for the Super Smiley Project, a Greensboro-based nonprofit dedicated to teaching children kindness through animals.
The kick-off for the nonprofit was held by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and drew students from the Dance Center of Greensboro. It was an event in the chamber’s Business After Hours series.
Smiley’s biography and general conversation are translated by his owner, manager, promoter and cheerleader, Megan Blake.
Blake said, “I know pets can reach people, children and adults, on a deeper level than people can.”
Blake is one of the hosts of Animal Attractions TV on PBS and Amazon Prime. She is an advocate for pet ownership and has, along with Super Smiley, created award-winning documentaries. Smiley and Blake have encouraged inner-city children and worked in maximum-security prisons. There, prisoners trained dogs to be adoption-ready and the dogs were a rehabilitation project for the prisoners.
If Blake has her way, Super Smiley and other animals will be used in schools and elsewhere to teach children kindness, responsibility, empathy and the ability to listen. “All things that I think can create a ripple effect when it comes to the bullying and other problems we’ve seen in schools of late,” Blake said.
Blake, raised in Florida, is an actress, former Miss Georgia and a former Miss America contestant. She has a bachelor’s degree in industrial psychology.
Super Smiley is a twice abandoned mutt from the streets of Los Angeles with a degree from the school of hard knocks. He is a certified therapy dog and actor who played Raquel Welch’s dog, also named Smiley, in the movie The Ultimate Legacy on the Hallmark Channel.