Thursday, July 28, 2011

Owney the Railway Mail Service Dog

I have been reading Amazing Dogs:A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, a compendium of stories about little- known acting dogs, talking dogs, mathematician dogs, and traveling dogs of history. The book is a very thoughtful gift from my mom.
Photos from

I had just read the section on Owney, the adventurous mutt who traveled the Railway system in the 1890s, when I learned that the Smithsonian Postal Museum was unveiling an Owney stamp and having an Owney-fest this week, and the Washington Humane Society needed volunteers to be there. 

What I didn't realize was that the real, taxidermied Owney himself is there and that I would get to meet him.

I find his story very touching--imagine a little terrier-mix just jumping on a train, lying down on a mail bag, and riding to a station far away. Sometimes disembarking for a meal at a pub, beloved by postal and rail employees who sometimes tried to take him in and give him a stationary home, but always following his heart back onto the train for another ride. 
He's supposed to have traveled 140,000 miles around the world. 

What an indomitable spirit!


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  2. Owney is such a wonderful dog. I'm still surprised how our furry friends can be trained to do good things - since it's already instinctive. There are a lot of dog stories where these canine often helps out humans. For dogs today, the clicker is still a wonderful training tool. It's an excellent positive reinforcement gear to make training fun for our pets. Are you interested to learn how? Then see this link:

  3. I also try to avoid the added flavors that companies put into foods these days. They are usually enhanced with chemicals which again I would rather keep out of my dog's system.

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