I really love stories like this (from the excellent Mills blog).
“Owney was a stray dog who wandered into the Albany, New York, post office in 1888. The clerks let him stay the night, and he fell asleep on a pile of empty mailbags. Owney was attracted to the texture or scent of the mailbags and began to follow them, first onto mail wagons and then onto mail trains. Owney began to ride with the bags on Railway Post Office (RPO) train cars across the state, and then the country. The RPO clerks adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot, marking his travels by placing medals and tags from his stops on his collar.”
“Postmaster General John Wanamaker was one of Owney’s fans. When he learned that the dog’s collar was weighed down by an ever-growing number of tags, he gave Owney a jacket on which to display the “trophies.
On April 9, 1894, a writer for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that ‘Nearly every place he stopped Owney received an additional tag, until now he wears a big bunch. When he jogs along, they jingle like the bells on a junk wagon.’
Each time Owney returned home to Albany, the clerks there saved the tags.”
Kyle said that she found it “touching that they not only took the time to make a photograph of him, but that several people did.” I do too. particularly as I happen to be quite fond of extraordinary dogs in history.”