Monday, July 25, 2011
Owney - The Original RAILRoad Dog
Owney and a letter carrier
The clerks soon adopted the little dog as their unofficial mascot, and dubbed him "Owney", although the origin of his name is unclear. As his trips grew longer, the postal clerks at Albany became concerned that the dog be identified, and, if necessary returned to them so they placed a collar on him that explained who he was and where he came from.
Owney was soon traveling all over the United States via the Railway Mail Service. Owney enchanted people from New York City to Omaha, San Francisco to Boston, and Juneau to Atlanta, as well as countless small towns across the entire country just as he had the postal clerks in Albany, and people he met began to give him items to memorialize his visit to their city. Because of this, Owney collected at least two hundred tags and other mementos from the places he visited. They marked his travels by placing tags on his collar. Throughout his life, Owney accumulated over 200 tags, tokens, trinkets, and medals, many of which are now on display at the National Postal Museum; however, a comprehensive chronology of Owney’s travels did not exist.
His longest adventure began in 1895 when Owney left Tacoma, accompanied by a mail clerk, on the Northern Pacific mail steamer “Victoria.” Owney visited Kobe, Japan, Hong Kong, and switched to the British steamer Port Phillip that carried him to Shanghai, Singapore, the Suez, Algiers and finally back home to New York. Now THAT'S a trip!
Several books have also been written based on Owney and his travels.
Here's to you, Owney - you were definitely one LUCKY DOG!
The Road Dogs (thinking it's time to pull out the maps and plan a trip!)