The Top Dog is a Cat


Meet Earl Ray Smithers, the mascot at the Parsons Detachment of the West Virginia State Police.

Photo by Teri Cayton Earl Ray (Smithers) Cahill thinks he is a real Trooper, as he reigns over the detachment office.

His job at the office began approximately three and a half years ago when he showed up at the back door.

He only weighed two and a half pounds, but his personality weighed a ton. He took to his new job with a flourish. All he needed was a little love. He has gotten that and more because now he tips the scales at a whopping 15 pounds.

Michelle Hebb, Office Assistant with almost 30 years in the office, took over the mother role and got the privilege of naming the little boy. She named him after Earl Ray Tomblin, then Governor of the State of West Virginia and now retired West Virginia State Police Colonel Jay Smithers. Since Smithers retirement, Earl Ray has had an official name change. He is now called Earl Ray Cahill, after the newly appointed Colonel Jan Cahill.

Earl spends his days helping everyone from all the troopers to visitors and victims alike.

He is a comfort to children who are in the office giving statements and even tries to help take photographs. Hebb said, “He likes to help file and make copies, but his favorite thing to do is shred.” He has expectations from everyone in the office. Sgt. C.D. Siler picks on Earl every day. They have their man time, rough housing with each other while First Sgt. K.L. Keplinger and Trooper First Class J.J. Schmidle like to play nice. Cpl. J.E. Kopec says he is not a cat person but he likes Earl Ray just as much as the others.

Earl spends his days lounging in the office but he is allowed outside sometimes. Hebb says, “He will often times bring a surprise back with him which is usually a chipmunk. He loves to play in boxes and has his own entertainment corner consisting of a cat tree and numerous toys.” Siler stated. “He is not a very good watch cat. When the office was broken into he didn’t apprehend anyone.” Everyone takes a hand in his daily care, providing food and water and the occasional brushing. He is not the least bit spoiled.

Hebb says when she retires Earl Ray is going to go home and live with her and her husband. Siler said Earl is a good Trooper and he will always be the boss. When Earl Ray was asked what he thought of the new governor, he had no comment.