Hound History with Tami Harbolt: Continuing Education About the Human Animal Bond

February 2021

Owney, the Postal Service Dog

As you prepare to send a Valentine to your sweetie,  consider where your packages and letters go! One intrepid dog decided to find out. In 1888, a small mixed breed named Owney began following his owner to work as a postal clerk in Albany, New York. After the owner moved away, Owney became the unofficial mascot of the post office because he remained there and befriended all the postal carriers. Sometimes Owney followed the bags as they were loaded onto the railroad cars and in 1895, he followed them around the world! Owney travelled with mail to Asia, Europe and eventually returned to Albany. He was considered a good luck charm, because there were no train wrecks when Owney was a passenger. At every stop, he received a metal tag. Eventually he wore these tags on a harness created by a devoted mail carrier. Owney met a tragic end at a postal stop in Toledo, Ohio, where he was shot and killed. Mail clerks around the country raised funds to have him preserved, and he was donated to the postal museum and is on display at the Smithsonian Museum. Follow this link to see some of his tags, photos, and hear a song written about him by Trace Adkins!

https://postalmuseum.si.edu/exhibits/current/moving-the-mail/mail-by-rail/owney-mascot-of-the-railway-mail-service/all-about-owney/index.html

Sources: https://www.si.edu/spotlight/owney