Mel's Mongrel-Centric Mutterings -The Dog Days of Mail Delivery
Beware this mad mongrel
Dogs, The US Mail, Survival of the Fittest
What mail blog would be complete without a few observations about a mailman's favorite furry friend, canis lupus familiaris? I contend that an experienced mailman understands more about dog mentality than your average scientist. So I have thrown together a few random vignettes here based on my experiences over the years.
When I was putting mail in a mailbox today, two dogs behind a heavy patio screen door were fighting over the privilege to bark at me. I have noticed this behavior on many occasions. One smaller dog in a yard will run over to bark at me, and then the larger, dominant one will accost the smaller one in order to remind him who the boss is. This often leads to violent encounters between the animals. Something in the dog mentality puts a special significance on barking. It seems to be an earned perogative, and when it is not respected it puts the alpha male into an evil temper.
On the other hand, there are those dogs who appear to be self-appointed barking policemen. These animals apparently understand their master's strict injunctions against barking at the mailman, and will intercede to stop the prohibited behavior when their fellow dogs engage in it. Most of the time this corrective action is ignored, and the barkers will continue regardless of the enforcer's efforts to stop it. This case and the proceeding one demonstrate that the impulse to bark is much stronger than the threat of pain, and the lesser dogs will bark despite its risks.
When a pack of dogs manages to break out of a yard they will instinctively hunt a mailman in wolf pack style. It doesn't matter how large the dogs are, they still believe that they are wolves and behave as such. Don't laugh, but I was once stalked by a wolfpack consisting of three chihuahuas. The dogs formed a ring around me, blocking all of my escape routes, and then proceeded to nip at my heels in the hope of eventually wearing me down so that I could be consumed at leisure. Dealing with one chihuahua is easy enough, but taking on an entire pack is another story. I imagine that in nature wild wolves will use the same strategy to bring down a deer, a caribou, or some other such prey item. Having been potential prey myself, I now understand why they do so. It is a very effective tactic. I only escaped when the owner came out, but before he called off the dogs he chastised me for being afraid of chihuahuas. He had his mail put on hold. Being hunted and stalked by wolves, even miniature ones, is no laughing matter!
Postal issue dog spray does not work. A sprayed dog will simply blink once or twice and then continue with its rude behavior. A foot is a much more effective weapon, especially when you have a size fifteen foot like me! I once drop-kicked a miniature Doberman that escaped from a yard with the intention of consuming me. I scored a direct hit, and felt like Adam Vinatieri kicking a Super Bowl winning field goal. The mini-Doberman did about four or five flips in the air, landed painfully upon its fuzzy back, and then retreated into its yard, all of its bluster and taste for human flesh apparently having been kicked out of it. A cable repairman who just happened to be watching me from down the street was extremely impressed. "That was &%@#!!! awesome!" he cheered. "I hate those little &#@*!!!!" This was one of the most satisfying experiences of my postal career, especially because I had spectators.
Don't get the mistaken notion that all dogs are bad. There are some pooches that love the mailman, even though they bark at everyone else. This latter category is evidently well fed, and does not require mailman flesh to supplement a substandard diet.
A word to all of the wise doggies out there in doggie land! Mailman flesh is not appetizing! it is tough and stringy and does not digest well. In 9 out of ten documented cases Its consumption results in heartburn, or even more severe digestive problems. You are better off eating squirrel, opossum, skunk, or even roadkill. All of you dog owners out there please teach your pooches to leave the mailman alone, for their own good.
Just a few inspirational comments I thought might enlighten you on the ongoing battle between mailman and mongrel.