The other day I was in the post office near my Midtown apartment to buy stamps.
I asked the clerk if they were still selling the stamps of the dog. “The one that looks like a mutt,” I added.
“Do you mean Owney?” the clerk asked. “The post office mascot?”
“I guess so,” I said.
“It’s Owney,” she said. “We stopped selling those. But he was quite a dog.”
“He was?” I asked.
“Well, sure,” she said. “In the 1800s he traveled with the mailmen. He won all sort of awards. He had celebrations in his honor…”
“How do you know all this?” I asked, incredulously.
“I read about it,” she said. In a lower voice, she asked me, “And do you know how Owney died?”
“He went crazy. And one day he attacked some mail carriers. And then they shot him. Dead. A bullet to the head. Bang! Just like that!”
“Wait,” I said, trying to take this all in. “You mean the post office dog went postal?”
“That’s right,” the clerk said.
By now a line had formed behind me.
“I’ll just take the flag stamps,” I said.