This is one of my favorite historical hounds stories. I've posted it before but I wanted to share it again
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.
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. 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:
was issues on July 27, 2011 and makes a great collectible stamp purchase for dog and history lovers alike.