Tuesday, February 19, 2013

“Damn it… another dog in a yard.”

While in college I worked for the post office at Christmas time delivering mail.
This was pre Internet and it was snail mail, especially at Christmas time, tons of it.
Two to three weeks of helping the regular mailman.

It was my first government job; my second was the Army a few years later.

Before I go any further, I have to explain something; as a kid growing up in Coney Island, dogs were not part of my life as they are now. Through my wife and kids, all dog lovers I have become pretty much a dog person.

In an immigrant neighborhood where I was raised, nobody had pets, certainly no dogs, maybe a cat for mice if you had a store. Dogs were scary; think of the expression “junk yard dogs.”

I delivered mail in Brooklyn, but a Brooklyn different from Coney Island.

I delivered mail in a neighborhood that had single and double family houses. These houses had front yards with fences around them and they had dogs; big noisy, snarling, vicious, rabid dogs, between me and the mail box, which was usually on the porch. Perhaps the regular mailman knew each dog personally…but not me, to me they were “junk yard dogs.” All dogs were supposed to be dangerous.

There was only one way to deliver the mail, after all, the mail must get through, even though it was
only Christmas cards and life magazines and ads.

I opened the gates and the dogs ran out, free and happy I guess.
I could deliver my load of mail. I have created a whole neighborhood of released happy dogs involved with each other, probably mating and making more dogs for next years Christmas help.

I am not proud of this crappy thing I did, I would like to personally apologize to my daughter Chris (she is a great dog lover, check her blog, thelifeofcaptainchip.blogspot.gr.)

I remember arriving at a house, no yard, and no dog. I start to put some mail in the brass slot at the bottom of the door and I am ambushed by a dog on the inside, he grabs my fingers and I try to pull my hand out and the mail slot closes on my fingers cutting them. Freezing weather, bleeding fingers and the dog is on the inside proudly barking away.

How do I get me revenge on this beast, it actually might have been a tiny poodle, but to me he was a snarling Ridgeback; I get a life magazine out of my bag, I have no idea if they even subscribed. I put the magazine in the slot until the dog gets a hold of it. I then pull him into the door and then ram the magazine in…hoping to skewer him; I must have missed because he continued barking and probably making fun of me, giving me the “paw.”

Aside from the cold and the dogs, delivering Christmas mail was OK, meeting for coffee and killing time so we could go out on a second run and drag it into heavy overtime.

I now know all dogs are not “junk yard dogs’” at least the ones I have in my yard aren’t.


  1. How well I remember this story...We were still dating then, studying at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, we were just a boy from Brooklyn and a girl from Queens and you really hated delivering that mail...Crazy dog encounters were a real problem....
    Our lives since then have been enriched by all the dogs we've owned over the years, My very first as a child was a Spitz Pomeranian cross my mom rescued and spoiled her rotten, so much so that she just barely tolerated me as a child, beautiful all the same. All except three that became part of our lives, Greg's and mine have been rescue dogs and at the moment we have four. We love them and the feeling is mutual...

  2. So now we know "Who let the dog out!" (check the song, Dad). I still believe they should make heavy duty treats for the postmen to be "armed" with! Now - you are the one who is always worried that the dogs don't get out! Funny how things change. But it's what you are used to or not used to. You are a big animal rescuer yourself these days!

    Yet, I still can't help but wonder what happend to all the dogs you let out! I am sure they made it home safely...

  3. They must have come back because the next day I had to let them out again.