Monday, October 20, 2008

A dog the Postal Service could love

Owney was a stray mutt who wandered into the Albany, New York, Post Office in 1888. The clerks let him stay, and he fell asleep on some mailbags. Owney was attracted to the texture or scent of the mailbags and followed them when they were placed on a Railway Mail Service train. Owney began to ride with the bags on trains across the state--and then the country.

Railway mail clerks considered the dog a good luck charm. At a time when train wrecks were all too common, no train Owney rode was ever in a wreck. Railway clerks adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot, marking his travels by placing medals and tags on his collar. In 1895 Owney made an around-the-world trip, traveling with mailbags on trains and steamships to Asia and across Europe, before returning to Albany.

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