Saturday, July 23, 2011

Owney The Postal Dog, A Good Luck Charm-A Historical Hounds Posting with Professor Ping and Saturday Pet Bloggers Blog Hop

Professor Ping here...

There is big news brewing in the world of historical hounds.  A legendary dog of merit is about to get his due.   Owney the postal dog is about to get his own commemorative stamp.   Owney was an adorable Heinze 57 mutt,


like our own dear Norbert.  The legend is that Albany postal workers found a puppy asleep in the mail bags in 1897. The historical accuracy of this is subject to some question though as another version of the story is that Owney was owned by a postal worker who then moved away and left him with the railway mail clerks.  Whatever his origins, one thing is clear, Owney loved the mail.  He traveled the country on railway mail trains acquiring a large collection of tags, badges, and medals along the way that he wore on a vest.   In fact he had such a large collection of tags that according to Bark Magazine he has become the mascot of the International Society of Animal License Collecting, who knew there is such a thing! I am sure Owney would be very flattered.

At the time he rode the rails, train travel was dangerous and wrecks where not infrequent.   Since no train Owney traveled on ever  had an accident he became known as a good luck charm and workers where always pleased to see him and have him accompany them on trips.

Owney even voyaged around the world on trains and barges leaving from Tacoma Washington and traveling through Asia before returning to Albany. 

Owney was retried in 1897 purportedly due to poor eyesight and old age.  Poor Owney did not take to retirement well and the story is that he snuck onto a train again and while being mistreated bit a postal worker.    His death was very tragic, the result of a gun shot wound on July 11, 1897.  The circumstances are unknown, possibly he bit someone else while being mistreated.   After Owney's death postal workers raised money to have his body preserved by a taxidermist so he could be displayed at the Post Office head quarters in Washington, D.C.  In 1911 his body was moved to the Smithsonian Postal museum and can be seen there to this day: 

Owney's stamp

will be available for sale on July 27 and our mom will be in line to buy some.  I suggest you tell your moms and dads to by some too.  Its a fitting remembrance for a fascinating canine and a great addition to all of their snail mail.

Today is also Saturday Pet Bloggers Blog Hop--Click the linky tool below to see some great pet blogs:


  1. Hi Y'all,

    Thanks so much for telling us about this very interesting dog's life. It is so sad that it ended tragically. However, even today, in very rural areas, many animals are still put to sleep when their time has come using a well placed gunshot.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    P.S. Sorry, comments that don't pop up still won't let me use blogspot, my active blog. However you'll find the link on my old LiveJournal blog.

  2. Woof! Woof! Precious photo of a fascinating canine ... will definitely check it out. Happy BLOG HOP Weekend. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  3. As a Postal Museum staffer closely acquainted with Owney, I know he'd appreciate this blog post a lot. How do I know? The mutt won't shut up! He's tweeting at @OwneytheDog and Facebooking at

    - Erin,