Tiny Kitten Rescued In Ashes Of Famous West Michigan Hot Dog Restaurant

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A town in west Michigan lost one of its most beloved and historic places in a fire on August 14. But even in the rubble of Rockford’s Corner Bar, where visitors once wolfed down hot dogs by the dozen, new life has already returned.

A small kitten, no larger than a chili dog, was rescued from the remains of the Corner Bar by restaurant staff who heard cats had been making a home in the building. Borrowing live traps from local spay, neuter, and release organization Carol’s Ferals, they were able to capture the kitten, later named Smokey, on October 7.

“Meet the Corner Bar kitten. His name is Smokey. We were able to catch him/her yesterday,” the Corner Bar posted to Facebook. “He/she is comfortably situated at Carol’s Ferals where experts are evaluating this cutie’s condition. We’ll keep you posted but please in the meantime, consider supporting Carol’s Ferals with a donation of supplies or money. They were invaluable in helping us save this tiny fur baby.”


Smokey is one of the most talked about individuals to come out of the Corner Bar since competitive eater Tim Janus finished 43 and a half “World Famous Chilidogs” in 4 hours on March 4, 2006. Eating a couple dozen will get your name on the wall, but someone will have to stomach 44 chili dogs or more if they want the top spot.

As the Corner Bar rebuilds, and a substantial supply of hot dogs once again flows freely into the town of Rockford, Smokey is in good hands. And many other animals in west Michigan are too, thanks to the extra volunteer work this long-running establishment has been concentrating on in the meantime. The Corner Bar supplied food for the Humane Society of West Michigan’s Bark in the Park event on October 7 and kept quite a few hungry pups happy.

Animals make excellent friends, sometimes better ones than humans do, but do you ever think you talk to your pet too much? Of course not. Click the link below to find out why people who talk to their pets are likely to be more intelligent than those who don’t.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee. Find more about Matthew on his personal website.