Aspen needs a postal mascot

While on a May visit to Washington, D.C., I visited the Postal Museum, and while there I was introduced to Owney, a mutt that became the mascot of the United States Postal Service.

Owney’s story is an important part of the tour of the museum, and when I told my guide I was from the Aspen area she laughed about the recent flap over our mail carrier and his dog. I think Owney’s story and the Aspen story are a reflection of how a litigious society has caused us to lose a measure of humor and humanity.

In 1888 a stray mutt wandered into the Albany post office and fell asleep on some mail bags. The local postal employees took pity on the dog, fed him and named him Owney. The dog became a fixture with postal workers and soon began traveling across the country on postal trains.

Wherever he went the postal workers would attach metal postal tags to his collar to chronicle his travels. Owney even managed to travel with the mail to Europe and Asia.

When the collar became too full and too heavy, the Postmaster General, John Wanamaker, ordered a special jacket for Owney so that he could continue his travels in the manner befitting the mascot of the United States Postal Service.

If you visit the museum you will find Owney’s statue at the entrance and his jacket on exhibit in the museum.

Ted Grenda

Snowmass Village