Our beagle likes to sit on the edge of the couch, stare out the window and bark at everything that goes by. Still, I can tell when our mail has arrived because Charlie’s barking reaches new heights of anger.
If I have learned anything from talking with so many dog owners around Del Ray, it’s that Charlie is far from alone in his hatred of the mailman.
, a tiny Chihuahua known by her owner as being a quiet couch buddy, saves almost all her anger for the mailman. Upon the postman’s arrival, Peanut will run back and forth from window to window, barking and growling until she has safely fended him off. She even gets angry when spotting his truck on walks.
, in general a sweetheart of a dog, one time got loose and grabbed the mailman’s bag. Baloo’s owner, Rebecca, even saw the postman tossing spare pieces of mail at Baloo hoping to keep fend the dog off.
Casey and Steve told me that their mailman is so scared of , a dog they say sleeps all day long, that he once stood outside their gate and shouted over to them, “I’d like to deliver your mail now.” But first he wanted to make sure the coast was clear. They have tried arming their postman with treats and even that hasn’t worked.
I have to admit, these stories are kind of funny to look back on. But dogs versus postmen is a serious issue. According to the United States Postal Service, about 3,000 mail carriers are attacked by dogs each year.
Clearly dogs have it in for the mailman. But why?
Agatha Christie’s famous Hercule Poirot offers an interesting explanation:
"The dog… he is intelligent. There are people who may enter a house and there are people who may not—that a dog soon learns… Who is the person who most persistently tries to gain admission, rattling on the door twice or three times a day—and who is never by any chance admitted? The postman. Clearly, then, an undersirable guest from the point of view of the master of the house."
Or perhaps the postman is just plainly seen as an intruder by dogs, like any stranger that walks up to the front door. Every day the dog barks trying to scare the mailman off, and every day he is successful. “If it wasn’t for me,” our beagle might be thinking, “this guy would have taken over my house by now. I’m a hero!”
Well, if that's true, he’s a dangerous hero who mailman can rest assured is kept safely behind closed doors where he can bark away while inflicting no wounds.