Dogs and mail have had a complicated relationship throughout time.
Dogs have been the heroes of the post. When other methods weren’t available, dog sleds delivered mail to remote areas of up until the 1960s.
Most famously an outbreak of diptheria in Alaska led to the ‘Great Race of Mercy’ in 1925, a dog sled run that would bring back antitoxin for seriously ill children. Balto, a dog on the run, was memorialised with a statue in New York and there have been several adaptations of the story.
On the other hand, the fraught interactions between dogs and posties have long bemused the humans we live alongside. Many a human expert has tried to explain why some dogs have such deep held antagonism to the local postie. I was curious so I did a straw poll around the local park. Some dogs point to our territorial nature, and others say that barking at the postie has just become a habit.
This issue has led Australia Post to launch a campaign that recommends you secure dogs lest they become ‘your postie’s worst nightmare’. This is for the safety of posties and the dogs themselves.
Personally, I’ve never much had an issue with posties. They deliver an opportunity to do one of my favourite things — fetch the mail and bring it to my colleagues. I do appreciate the chance to stretch my legs and help around the office.
And I do think there is a chance for the future of postie/dog relations. There has even been a beautiful example of postie befriending a dog in Sydney, which became a viral sensation. There are also many resources online for humans to help dogs overcome their aversion to posties.
So, I extend the paw of friendship to postal workers around Australia in the hope that dogs may become the heroes of the post once more.