One of the inspirations for the stories told on our upcoming CD is the legend of Oney.  Stolen from Wikipedia: He was a stray Border terrier adopted as the first unofficial postal mascot by the Albany, New York, post office about 1888. The Albany mail professionals recommended the dog to their Railway Mail Service colleagues, and he became a nationwide mascot for 9 years (1888–97).[1] He traveled throughout the 48 contiguous United States and voyaged around the world traveling over 140,000 miles in his lifetime as a mascot of the Railway Post Office and the United States Postal Service.

Owney was an abandoned puppy adopted in 1888 by a post office worker named Owen, who worked at the Albany post office. Seeking shelter on a rainy night, the young mutt wandered into the back door of the post office, which had been accidentally left ajar. The pup seemed to love the smell of the mail bags and soon made one his bed.

Owney received tags everywhere he went, and as he moved they jingled like sleigh bells.  His collection of tags grew so large that United States Postmaster General John Wanamaker gave him a coat to display them all. Wanamaker also announced that Owney was then the Official Mascot of the Rail Mail Service. It is said to be impossible to know how many dog tags and medals Owney received. Despite the jacket, the mass became impossible for the small dog to carry. Clerks would remove tags and forward them to Albany or Washington D.C. for safekeeping. One source suggests that 1,017 medals and tokens were bestowed upon the mascot. Some of these tags did not survive; the National Postal Museum currently has 372 Owney tags in its collections.

4 thoughts on “Owney the Mail Dog

  1. Mark Turner

    It’s difficult to express the impact this story had on us, as a band. It ignited a discussion of perserverence, loyalty and the sheer fun of exploring life.
    Thank you Owney, for inspiring us!
    Mark Turner

  2. Darrell Hodge

    Nice! Reminds me of Dorsey the Mail Carrying Dog immortalized in the First Editions’ Ballad of Calico

Leave a Reply