Dogs and mail carriers: mortal enemies

23 Oct

Dogs hate mailmen

I live with two dogs. Neither of them are mine, but sometimes I find myself at home alone with them and that makes me the boss of the dogs. Recently there was an incident. My apartment is part of a small one-floor complex. We share a back yard. The dogs have free reign over the yard. The yard is fenced in, and there is a gate separating the yard from the stairs that lead to the street. Generally, we’ll let the dogs out and keep our back door open so they can come and go at their leisure.

The day I moved in, I was alone with the dogs. I was doing a load of laundry. Our washer and dryer are in the garage under our apartment. When I went down to get my load of laundry, I saw one of the dogs sauntering casually towards me. From across the street. The very busy street we live on. He had gotten out of the yard. I was surprised. I thought I had done something to allow him to get out. Nope. Apparently, he can easily jump over the gate. I was told this later. He’s a fairly large black dog with some white coloration around his face and paws. I like him. He’s some kind of retriever mix I’d guess (I do NOT know about dogs). So, he can get out of the yard. This wasn’t the first time he’d done it, and he did it once more a couple weeks later. His owners told me that he used to do this even more, but it isn’t a problem when he gets enough exercise. Every time he has gotten out he’s soon returned on his own. This mollified me, I suppose.

You can’t wait in there forever, mailman

Last Wednesday afternoon, I was home with the dogs. I let them out and left the door open. A few minutes later I heard barking from the street. I didn’t think much of it. A couple minutes later, I heard more barking. I went outside and sure enough, the dog was coming up the steps. The mail lady was standing maybe 20 yards away. She yelled something at me about the dog, I didn’t really hear. I was pretty embarrassed. I shouted back “Sorry!” and ushered the dog inside.

On Thursday we didn’t get any mail. This made me a little suspicious, since we get a lot of mail. (Including a lot of mail for several different people who no longer live here.) On Friday we got a letter from the Post Office. According to them, our gentle pooch tried to attack the mail lady. I doubt that very much. I don’t doubt that he did some barking and approached her in a friendly way; he’s a friendly dog. But attack is a strong word.

This is a humorous situation. Dogs chasing mailmen is a cliché so commonplace that awareness of the cliché overtakes knowledge of actual incidents that it is based on. I’ve certainly never heard of a real-life dangerous encounter between a dog and a mailman. Don’t let that fool you. This is apparently so common that the Post Office has a form letter that they send in such situations. I have taken the liberty of reprinting it below because it made me laugh out loud. The “painful dog bites” line struck me as especially funny for some reason. Maybe I’m not taking this seriously enough. I’m sure being a mail carrier in East Oakland can be a harrowing occupation sometimes. I don’t want my mail lady to be bitten by dogs. I’m sincerely concerned about her well-being and peace of mind; I won’t be letting the dogs out unsupervised any more. That being said, I don’t feel at all bad about finding this whole thing funny. And don’t worry, I called the Post Office and straightened everything out. We’re scheduled to get our mail tomorrow. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Anyway, enjoy. Grammar and usage errors all sic.

Not quite fast enough, mailman

October 18, 2012

[My address]

Re: Suspended Mail Service/Loose Dog

My carrier recently informed me that a dog in your courtyard attempted to attack her during mail delivery hours. Postal service strives to provide excellent service to our customers. However, loose dogs unrestrained in the yard are a potential hazard and can not be taken lightly. Carriers nationwide have experienced painful dog bites because of owner’s lack of responsibility to restrain dogs during mail delivery hours. Therefore, your mail will be suspended for 10 days until you have contacted us in regards to restraining your dog.

Again unrestricted dogs during mail delivery hours are very serious to us at the Postal Service and can not be taken lightly. This not only protects our carriers from injuries, but the homeowners as well. Please do not hesitate to contact me at [phone number].


[Post Office Boss]
Manager Customer Service
[Their address]


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