As I mentioned a few weeks ago, one of my favorite exhibitions at the National Postal Museum was the Postal Train Car they have in the mail gallery. The train car itself is awesome to walk into. I especially enjoyed that there is an activity for you to test your mail sorting skills right there. The main attraction for me was a certain puppy, Owney.
Owney was a stray dog who wondered into an Albany post office one rainy day. He really loved the smell of the mail bags, so he plopped himself down on one and slept. The mail carries weren't really bothered by the stray and eventually adopted him. One day, Owney followed one of the mail bags onto a train, and off he started on his adventures. He travled all over the nation, eventually boarding a boat and crossed the Atlantic over to Europe. Along the way, he collected tags marking all the amazing places he visited. Here is a snippet from the National Postal Museum website about Owney:
Railway mail clerks considered the dog a good luck charm. At a time when train wrecks were all too common, no train Owney rode was ever in a wreck. The Railway mail clerks adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot, marking his travels by placing medals and tags on his collar.
-National Postal Museum, "Owney, Mascot of the Railway Mail Service"
Owney "himself" is off getting restored, so I was only able to see a plaster cast. That was fine for me though, as I was able to understand his size and check out what type of tags he got, even if they were reproductions. I made sure to pick-up a few Owney related items before I left the museum. I especially loved one book in particular, Owney: The Mail-Pouch Pooch. I bought it for my friend's child, but I confess, I was very close to just keeping it for myself. The story is well presented and the illustrations are so endearing that I couldn't put the book down, even if it is intended for children! Owney's story is absolutely charming and I can't wait until his stamp releases on the 17th.