Dog goes postal on carrier
Howard doesn’t like the mailman. Hates him, actually, in a growling and glaring way that forces everybody involved to change their way of doing things.
I’m baffled by it because Howard, our Wheaten terrier, loves everybody else. Neighborhood kids, visitors to the house, Cub Scouts, repairmen, pizza delivery guys – they all have come to know Howard by name.
Yesterday when the FedEx guy came to the door with a package, he asked me to sign for it and then asked where Howard was. I looked down the hall to find the fur ball stretched out with his legs reaching up the wall. I called and he scrambled to right himself and came running to say hello.
Howard’s friendly and gentle. Although he’s of good size and strong, he’s well in control of his body and his teeth. He can knock open doors by leaping at them, but he’s never knocked over a kid.
I don’t know what happened with the mailman, but he won’t come into the yard if Howard’s outside.
We’ve had other postal carriers, and Howard’s been friends with all of them. Mornings he would sit in the front yard, just short of the electric fence line, watching the world of kids and other dogs going by.
The previous mail carrier would step onto the sidewalk and call his name and Howard would wait for him to get close enough, and then the tail-wagging and flappy-tongued smiling would start. That tall guy with the mail bag came to see Howard, and every day was a big slobbery reunion.
Something’s different with the mailman we have now. One morning last summer, Howard and I were on the porch swing when Bob stepped onto the sidewalk. Howie growled and bolted, taking the porch steps in one leap and shooting down the sidewalk to chase Bob away. Bob waved, dropped the bundle of mail at the end of the walk and retreated.
Bob’s a good guy, friendly and handsome with a cheerful nature. If I were a dog I would think he was swell, but Howard doesn’t. We talked about it.
“What did Howard do?” I asked, picturing teeth marks on Bob’s cheek. Or worse, stitches.
“Nothing,” Bob said. “One day he just wouldn’t let me into your yard.” Later, I asked Howard about it, and he gave me a look that said, “Why are you looking at me?”
Well, somebody’s lying and I’m pretty sure it’s the furry one with four legs. He’s been known to get overly enthusiastic. Maybe he jumped at Bob and Bob had to use his mace spray. I wouldn’t blame him if he did. Maybe a substitute mail carrier maced him and now Howard doesn’t like anyone in a blue suit.
Whatever happened, the Bob/Howard dilemma forced us to change our routine. Howard’s allowed outside for a half hour when we first get up, and then he’s on lockdown until after the mail arrives. Some days it’s as late as 11:30. All morning Howard sits on the sofa looking out the picture window, waiting for Bob to arrive. The slobber and nose prints tell me the dog is anxious; his panting fogs up the glass. Maybe he thinks today’s the day he’ll be allowed outside to chase away that guy in the blue suit once and for all.
Or maybe, knowing Howard, he just wants to kiss and make up.
Beth Dolinar can be reached at email@example.com.