The National Postal Museum in Washington, DC, has an exhibit telling the story of Owney, the dog who loved the mail so much that he helped deliver it all over the world. Plus: Freeman, South Dakota is holding its annual Chislic Festival, a two day celebration of cubed meat on a stick. (Sorry, dogs aren’t allowed.)
While canines and postal delivery specialists haven’t always gotten along, they aren’t always fighting, either. In fact, the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC, has an exhibit telling the story of a dog who loved the mail so much that he actually helped deliver it!
It’s the story of Owney the dog, who in 1888 started showing up for work at the post office in Albany, New York. We don’t know for sure how he started there, but once he did, one thing was clear: this dog loved the mail so much that he started riding mail trains along with his human colleagues.
The postal employees concluded that since Owney rode mail trains so often, and had never been in an accident, he must be good luck. So he kept traveling: Owney even went overseas, including trip to China, Japan, Mexico, Egypt and more. The Albany post office gave him a tag with his home address, so he could always return to New York state. But along the way, the other post offices started giving Owney tags, too, so he could show off all the places he’d been. The dog collected so many of these tags he started jingling wherever he walked.
Owney’s legend in postal circles grew to the point that when he died in 1897, his human colleagues asked that he be preserved – and so he made two last trips, one to the taxidermist… and the other to the National Postal Museum, where visitors can say hi to the greatest mail-delivering dog in Post Office history.
I don’t know if Owney the mail dog ever made it to Freeman, South Dakota, but if you head there today, you can take part in the South Dakota Chislic Festival! It’s a two day celebration of cubed meat, usually mutton or lamb, on a stick, that German-Russian immigrants brought over in the 19th century. Chislic is one of the official symbols of the Mount Rushmore state, which makes me wonder why other states haven’t designated official foods on sticks.