Monday, July 25, 2011

Owney - The Original RAILRoad Dog

We think this little guy may be our new hero!  Seems he might have been the original Road Dog - RAILroad Dog, that is!  We can imagine the adventures he must have had!  His name is Owney and he was the unofficial mascot of the Railway Mail service in the late 1800's.  He is now being honored with his very own forever stamp - debuting on July 27, 2011!  You can pre-order Owney stamps through the USPS.  There will even be a First Day of Issue Ceremony at the Postal Museum in Washington, DC


Here's Owney's story gathered from various sources:

Postal workers in the Albany post office found a puppy asleep on their mail bags in 1888. It seems that he had been attracted to the texture or scent of the mailbags and traveled with them as they were transported around the country on the Railway Mail Service train. He was considered to be good luck by postal workers, since no train he ever rode on was in a wreck.

Portrait of Owney with a letter carrier 
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. 
The Further Adventures of a Lucky Dog: Owney, U.S. Rail Mail Mascot[Hardcover]
A Lucky Dog: Owney, U.S. Rail Mail Mascot[Hardcover]



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!)

334 comments:

1 – 200 of 334   Newer›   Newest»
ArtemisiaFSS said...

Wow, Owney certainly had a very interesting life.

Sarge said...

Hey Road Dogs!
Wow, what a pawesome pup he was! Great story and what an amazing life he had. I'd love to see all this pressies. This reminds me of the movie Hatchi (sp?) about the dog that waited at the station for his departed master to return. Thanks for sharing such a cool post!
Grr and Woof,
Sarge, COP

Momma Tea (also Ronnii and Uji whose open ids wont work) said...

DML dids read to mee about Owney n mee finks him is uber kewl dis honour is long overdue fur him, wish wee coulds get hims stamps here cos mee would puts dem in a frame aboves mi bed.
Luv
Uji
x
PeeS. Mee has entered da Artsydog competiton on FB fank yoo fur showin us dem

Hound Girl said...

I read about this recently and its such a great story, im going to buy some of these stamps! I think this is wonderful!

Amber DaWeenie said...

Gotta watch for dat stamp. Mom wants plenty of em'.

Sugar the Golden Retriever said...

Woof! Woof! We learned about Owney in FB. PAWSOME to Owney's Life. Happy MONDAY! Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Tessa the Maltese said...

What a Great life! Sounds like he had lots of fun too!

Happy Monday!

woos, Tessa

SissySees said...

I need to order stamps, huh?! That's awesome. Thanks for sharing the story with us.

Shawnee the Shepherd said...

Wow, that do be some story! I had nefur heared of him afore. But I has to wonner, wozn't all those tags a little heavy on his collah? I hope he did not wear all of them at the same time!

Schnauzer Days said...

What a great little chap and so fitting he should have a commemorative stamp in his honour. Dex and Lou xxx

Oskar said...

What a super-cool life Owney had!

Nubbin wiggles,
Oskar

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Wow, Owney was one very well-traveled pup. How nice to have a stamp in his honor. We will have to look for them. Mom says they would look very nice on her bill payments:)

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder,and Ciara

Peggy Frezon said...

Really? I'm so excited! Guess what, I live in Albany, right near the train station too! I've written stories about Owney too. I'm going to go buy his stamp! Thank you for telling me!

Pup Fan said...

Cool post... I enjoyed reading about Owney!

Dory and the Mama said...

WOWOWOWOW!!! What a cool dog...we think he is our new hero!! Thanks SO MUCH for sharing this with us!!

Smileys!
Dory, Jakey and Bilbo

PeeEss...Daddy is a big train fan and Mama is a history buff and they both just LOVED this when we showed it to them!

Benny and Lily said...

so adorable..he looks like a stuffie
Benny & Lily

Frankie Furter said...

I LOVE THIS... I had never heard of Owney before. THANK YOU fur telling us!! I love to learn new stuffs every day!!!

houndstooth said...

What an exciting life Owney must have lived! We'd never heard of him before your post, but we love stories about dogs and history. Can you imagine traveling to China without having to dig a hole there?

Bunny

Mr. Pip said...

Did my other comment go through? What can I say, the heat is getting to me!

I hadn't heard of Owney before! What a world traveler. Too bad he didn't have a blog ...oops, I guess they didn't have computers back in the 1800's.

I will definitely keep a look out for those books. What a doggie hero!

Your pal, Pip

Amy said...

I just saw this stamp for the first time the other day. I'm happy to know a little more about this cute pup.

Archie and Melissa said...

hello!
it is so nice to meet you!
thank you for saying hello today!
archie and i love your blog!
this is a fabulous post!
owey was one lucky dog for sure!
he had an amazing and inspiring life.
we love his story!
:) melissa & archie

Roo said...

What a cool story! Must get an Owney stamp! Thanks for sharing :D

Waggin at ya,
Roo

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