Owney: Tales from the Rails

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00:07

[music]

00:08

Narrator: On most days when Sam got home from

00:11

school, he was happy. But on this day,

00:14

he was sad. On most days Sam threw squeak

00:18

toys for his puppy to chase. But on this

00:21

day, there was no squeaking.

00:23

[music]

00:32

Sam's Grandpa sat next to him.

00:35

This letter just arrived for you my fine

00:37

young sir. It's not a real letter

00:40

grumbled Sam. You just wrote it yourself.

00:43

Well that I did. Admit Grandpa but it

00:47

still looks pretty real to me it

00:50

probably just says something like, I love

00:52

you Sam, fussed Sam. Astounding, exclaimed

00:55

Grandpa, you must have x-ray eyes. Grandpa

01:00

was trying to make Sam smile. It didn't

01:03

work. What's the matter, Sam? Asked Grandpa.

01:06

[music]

01:12

Billy called our puppy a mutt, mumbled Sam.

01:15

What's wrong with that? Asked Grandpa. He

01:19

is a mutt, I like mutts. But Billy said that

01:22

mutts aren't worth a penny,

01:24

pounted Sam. Oh don't listen to that

01:26

silliness, Grandpa chuckled. A mutt's

01:29

worth isn't measured by money. It's

01:31

measured by qualities like charm and

01:34

bravery, loyalty, and smarts.

01:37

Really? Sam sounded hopeful. Then he

01:40

thought for a moment. What is a mutt

01:43

anyway? A mutt is a mix of different dog

01:49

breeds, said Grandpa. Mix a Dachshund and

01:52

a Yorkie and you've got yourself a Dorky.

01:55

A Dorky? Made you smile, chuckle

01:59

Grandpa. You try. Sam mixed two more dog

02:02

breeds. What's this one called? A Newfypoo!

02:06

Sam laughed out loud. His puppy

02:09

barked happily. A Newfypoo is what

02:15

you get mixing a Newfoundland and a

02:17

poodle, explained Grandpa. I've seen

02:19

Bowzers, Chiweenies, Pinny-Poos, and Rat-A-Pins!

02:23

All of them mutts, and each one more

02:27

special than the next. But the most

02:29

special mutt of all was a mix of Terrier and mystery.

02:32

Sam's eyes grew wide with wonder.

02:37

Grandpa's eyes sparkled with mischief.

02:44

His name was Owney. Owney the post office pooch,

02:47

announced Grandpa.

02:49

That's a mail pouch he's perched on,

02:53

full of imported letters.

02:54

Wow, where'd he get all those tags? asked Sam.

02:57

From postal workers all over the country,

03:00

and all over the world. Postal workers like

03:04

you, Grandpa? You bet.

03:06

Grandpa grinned proudly. Sam scrrunched

03:13

his nose a little. Are you making this up?

03:16

Not at all, Sam.

03:17

Grandpa insisted, holding up his right

03:19

hand to swear it so. Owney was a real dog,

03:22

and the story I'm about to tell you is

03:24

true - as told to me by my own Grandpa who

03:28

was there when it all happened.

03:36

Look! cried Sam. My puppy is sitting on a

03:39

bag just like Owney! Well what do you know,

03:42

chuckle Grandpa. A pair of perching

03:45

pooches. Say that five times fast! No

03:49

chance, giggled Sam.

03:51

Shall we start the story? asked Grandpa.

03:54

Okay, Grandpa, but make sure my puppy can see.

03:57

[music]

04:01

I'll tell you what, Sam, you can turn the

04:04

page, said Grandpa. Sam was about to do

04:07

just that when Grandpa added with the

04:09

sense of mystery. And as you turn the

04:13

page, let's imagine that we've

04:16

transported right into the middle of

04:18

Owney's town. Sam's eyes widen as a

04:26

wonderful pop-up scene unfolded before

04:28

them. Where are we?

04:30

Albany, New York, replied Grandpa. This is

04:33

definitely the right place to find Owney.

04:36

But first we need to travel back to his

04:39

time, over a hundred years ago - the late

04:43

1800s. Back when most folks used a horse

04:46

and buggy to get around instead of a car.

04:49

[music]

05:02

We did it! exclaimed Sam, as the scene

05:05

changed. Is that puppy Owney?

05:14

That's him all right, smiled Grandpa. Back

05:17

when he was just a teensy thing. He's all

05:20

alone.

05:21

Where's his owner? Off in some other town,

05:24

I figured, side Grandpa. You see, his owner

05:28

worked at the Albany post office for a

05:30

while. But when he moved away he left

05:33

Owney behind. Poor  Owney! cried Sam. Yup,

05:37

pretty tough on the little pup, nodded

05:40

Grandpa.  Owney had every right to mope

05:42

around and feel sorry for himself. But

05:45

like most mutts,

05:46

he was pretty clever so instead on

05:48

whining over having no home, he made the

05:51

Albany Post Office his new home. He lived

05:55

at the Post Office?

05:56

He moved right in!

05:58

[music]

06:05

When Owney went to sleep at night he

06:07

could have complained about having no

06:09

pillow but instead he pretended that a

06:11

pile of mail bags in the corner was a

06:13

whole mountain of pillows. And he was the

06:16

king of that mountain! Good for Owney,

06:19

smild Sam. For the rest of his life,

06:22

mailbags were his favorite place to sleep.

06:24

Why did he like them so much, Grandpa? Nobody

06:28

knows for sure, Sammy, but I figure it was

06:30

because of those wonderful smells. Smells?

06:33

Sure, said Grandpa. Back then there were

06:37

no computers or emails. You just wrote a letter

06:39

with a pencil or a pen on a real piece

06:42

of paper. Can you smell paper? ask Sam.

06:47

[music]

06:53

Oh, without a doubt! When your grandmother

06:56

used to write me love letters, the paper

06:58

always carried a whiff of her sweet

07:00

smelling perfume...

[perfume bottle squirts]

Heavenly! Grandpa

07:04

inhaled deeply and made a silly smile, as

07:06

if smelling the best thing ever.

07:08

Hey you're funny Grandpa, Sam smiled. And a

07:15

dog's nose is much more sensitive than

07:17

yours or mine, continued Grandpa. So they

07:19

detect even the tiniest smells. I'll bet

07:22

you Owney was lying there dreaming about

07:25

all the smells his little puppy nose was

07:27

sniffing from inside the bags - cherry pie,

07:31

peanut brittle, the gentle scent of a rose

07:33

garden, smoke from a campfire... small clues

07:37

about who wrote all those letters and

07:40

what they were doing at the time.

07:42

[music]

07:48

Who's that man? asked Sam.

07:51

Why that's mail clerk, Clark. He's the

07:54

newest member of the Albany Post Office

07:56

starting his very first day of work.

07:59

He looks surprised, said Sam. Well you'd be

08:02

surprised too if a pile of mailbags

08:04

started barking at you, chuckled Grandpa.

08:07

[music]

08:11

On the post office floor underneath the

08:14

stack of mail, I thought I heard a woof,

08:17

and then I saw his tail. When up from the

08:21

pile popped the cutest puppy smile, that's

08:24

when I fell in love with Owney!

08:30

Did Clark like Owney and take care of him? asked

08:33

Sam. Yes indeed nodded Grandpa. In fact,

08:37

he declared himself to be Owney's new owner.

08:43

Before you know it, Owney's cute little

08:46

puppy smile had won the heart of every

08:48

mail clerk in the Albany Post Office.

08:50

They all became his owners! All of them?

08:54

asked Sam in surprise. Every last one,

08:58

chuckled Grandpa. From no owner to a

09:01

whole team of owners. That little rascal

09:03

had a way of turning things around. Clark

09:06

and all his friends took care of Owney

09:08

and shared their food with him. And Owney took

09:11

great joy in watching them work - sorting

09:14

the mail and locking the bags. Why did

09:16

they lock the bags, Grandpa?

09:18

[music]

09:22

Because every piece of mail inside those

09:25

bags was important, and they wanted to be

09:27

sure that none of them were lost or

09:30

stolen. It was very serious work, Sammy. But in

09:34

the middle of all that seriousness, Owney

09:36

made folks laugh. He even barked out

09:39

orders and pretended to be in charge of

09:41

the whole operation!

09:42

What kind of orders did he bark? asked

09:44

Sam. Well, I believe it something like

09:48

this - one woof... the out of town pile - two woofs... the

09:54

in-town pile - three woofs... lunch!

10:03

Owney often wondered, in his doggy way, where the bags

10:06

went to when they were tossed onto the

10:08

wagons and carried off. Did he ever find

10:10

out, Grandpa? To Sam's delight, Grandpa

10:13

answered by singing another little rhyme.

10:15

We stacked all the mail bags on the

10:19

horse and cart. Head to the station where

10:23

the trains depart. The mail car is loaded

10:26

up, we hear the whistle blow. They call

10:28

for all aboard and away we go.

10:32

Toot, toot! added Sam. Woof, woof! added his puppy.

10:44

One day Clark noticed that a mail bag

10:47

was missing. Owney was missing, too! Were they

10:51

lost? as Sam. Well the bag was lost,

10:54

explained Grandpa. It had fallen off a

10:57

wagon on the way to the train. But Owney

10:59

wasn't lost at all. He had seen the bag

11:02

fall, and decided to stay behind to guard

11:05

the U.S. Mail.

[dog barking]

11:06

[music]

11:12

That feisty little guy wouldn't let

11:14

anyone touch the mailbag unless they

11:16

were wearing the proper postal uniform.

11:19

He was pretty smart, huh? Newspapers

11:22

called it an exhibition of excellent dog

11:25

sense! Not bad for a mutt.

11:32

Wow, Owney looks a lot bigger now!

11:34

exclaimed Sam. Yup, Owney went from pup to

11:38

grownup, smile Grandpa. And, in the

11:41

process, his bravery grew, too. So one day

11:44

when that train whistle blew

11:46

- whoo-oo - Owney jumped all aboard with mail

11:51

clerk Clark! But I thought Clark worked at

11:53

the post office, said Sam. Well Clark was

11:56

just as curious about the big old steam

11:58

trains as Owney. So he got a job with the

12:01

Railway Post Office. Now they could both

12:04

accompany the mail by rail. Did Owney like

12:15

riding the train? What could be better?

12:18

A buddy at his side, sharing lip-smacking

12:20

snacks... A pile of postal pouches to

12:24

purch upon... Not another tongue twister,

12:26

Grandpa... snickered Sam. Sorry Sammy, sorta

12:30

slipped out, Grandpa grinned. But the best

12:34

part of Owney's new adventure was discovering

12:35

that there was a great big world out

12:38

there. Bigger than anything he had ever

12:41

imagined! Going miles farther than his

12:44

doggy paws could ever take him! And this

12:47

hissing, rumbling, rocky train would let him

12:50

explore it all!

[train wheels rolling on tracks]

Owney's canine eyes spied

13:01

many new wonders like this crane rig

13:04

called mail-on-the-fly. To save time,

13:07

the postal workers used a special

13:10

catcher off to snag mail bags while the

13:12

trains still chugging along.

13:14

[music]

13:21

[music]

13:24

[mail bag being snagged]

[another mail bag hitting the ground]

13:26

[music]

13:31

After they snagged a bag of incoming

13:33

mail, they kick a bag of outgoing mail

13:36

right off the train. Sounds fun!

13:39

exclaimed Sam. And tricky, added Grandpa.

13:43

Put the catcher-arm out too early and to

13:46

slam into a telegraph pull, ripping

13:48

right off the train! Too late, and you'd

13:51

miss the bag. A missed mail bag would get

13:54

five points counting against the clerk.

13:56

Like a bad grade?

14:05

Yup. And I guess Owney didn't want his friends

14:07

to get bad grades, said Grandpa. Newspapers tell

14:11

stories of him barking at tired postal

14:14

clerks who'd fallen asleep, so they'd wake

14:16

up and remember him catch the mail.

14:18

Good for Owney! said Sam. Once they got the new

14:30

mail aboard the train, Clark and all the

14:33

other clerks sorted it and bagged it

14:35

just like they did back home in Albany.

14:36

To Owney's delight, he was riding in a

14:39

moving post office!

14:47

When the train arrived at the town of

14:50

Boston, Owney was in for a big surprise.

14:53

Boston had its very own post office.

14:57

Like the one in Albany? The building looked a

14:59

little different, but it was full of

15:01

friendly mail clerks who wore the same

15:03

uniforms that Owney was used to seeing. And

15:05

just like in Albany, they sorted

15:08

envelopes and stuffed mailbags, and most

15:11

importantly of all, shared their food

15:13

with Owney! Even though he was far away

15:16

from home, that little mutt felt right at

15:20

home. Now he had two homes! smiled Sam.

15:23

And Owney would soon discover that there were

15:26

homes like this waiting for him all over

15:28

the country. Every time the train reached

15:34

a new town, there'd be another United

15:37

States Post Office with mail clerks who

15:39

had heard how clever Owney was. They were

15:42

all happy to call him family. That's a

15:45

pretty big family, Sam guessed. In the

15:48

thousands! boasted Grandpa. And many of

15:55

those good people gave Owney special tags

15:57

and prizes to show how much they liked

15:59

him. This shiny tag was presented to him

16:03

in Boston.

16:08

Where did Owney keep all the tags? He let

16:11

folks attach them to his collar.

16:13

He was rightly proud!

16:22

[music]

[dog barking]

16:24

Owney love to stand for hours in the door

16:27

of the male coach as the train chugged

16:29

across the country. One day saw steamboat

16:32

delivering mail. Sort of a postal

16:35

paddlewheel. The mail went on trains and

16:37

boats? asked Sam.

16:40

[music]

16:45

Plus streetcars. And dogsleds! explained

16:51

Grandpa. Naw... snickered Sam. Puppy doesn't

16:54

believe you either. Truth! promised

16:58

Grandpa. Up in Michigan's snowy north,

17:06

they used dog power to get the mail

17:08

through. And let's not forget Mustangs. Like my

17:12

dad's car? asked Sam. Like a tough little

17:19

horse called a Mustang. It belong to a

17:23

young lady mail carrier who rode a sixteen

17:25

mile delivery loop next to Loop Loop Creek,

17:28

believe it or not, up in northern

17:30

Washington. They called her Plucky Miss

17:33

Malott.

[music]

Plucky Miss Malott, Plucky Miss Malott

17:39

Gives the post office everything

17:43

she's got. And only on Christmas lets hrr

17:46

horse trot. But that's the way it is with

17:49

Plucky Miss Malott. Up until now I

17:52

almost forgot, that hard driving dame with the

17:56

cute little name. But don't call her cute,

17:58

you might get yourself shot, or a kick

18:01

from the boot of Plucky Miss Malott,

18:03

Plucky Miss Malott, Plucky Miss Malott.

18:11

Owney became a celebrated traveler,

18:14

continued Grandpa, using the railway

18:17

system to cross the whole United States,

18:19

again and again, from city to city, and

18:21

state to state,

18:22

just like the U.S. Mail! And Grandpa

18:26

rhymed- Boston, Brooklyn, Wichita,

18:31

Denver, Dayton, Omaha,

Ashland, Oakland, San Jose,

18:37

Nashville, Knoxville, Oyster Bay!

18:50

What was Owney's favorite place? asked Sam.

18:52

He was plenty happy wherever he went,

18:55

shrugged Grandpa. A Kentucky

18:58

newspaper put it this way - the effete

19:00

East, the burly West, the languid South

19:03

and the energetic North are all the same

19:06

to his dogship. His dogship? laughed Sam.

19:14

You heard me - teased Grandpa. It's written

19:18

on this lucky horseshoe tag he was

19:20

awarded in Baltimore, Maryland. Why, he

19:23

was declared First in Everything by

19:25

this tag from Boston, Massachusetts. Down

19:27

in El Paso Texas,

19:30

the folks gave him a silver token that

19:32

was good for one drink at the parlor.

19:35

And in Corry, Pennsylvania, he even got a 25

19:39

cent coin! Did he spend it? asked Sam.

19:43

He saved it, said Grandpa, sounding very

19:46

proud of Oney. Like all his other tags.

19:50

Even though Owney loved the adventure and

19:53

friendship and gifts that came from

19:55

riding the rails, it wasn't all fun and

19:58

games, declared Grandpa, sounding a little

20:00

more serious than usual. One time Owney

20:03

took a train of North to Montreal, Canada,

20:06

all by himself.

20:08

Why'd he do that? Sam wondered.

20:10

[music]

20:16

Well maybe he wanted to see a big old moose,

[moose groan]

20:19

or hear a goose honk in French,

[goose honk]

20:24

mused Grandpa. But when the train got

20:29

back home, and the door of the mail car

20:31

opened, what do you think Clark saw? Owney?

20:36

Sam guessed. There was no Owney! exclaimed

20:47

Grandpa. And Clark started to worry

20:49

himself into a knot! He knew that

20:52

sometimes there were wrecks and train

20:54

derailments. Once in a while trains even

20:57

got held up by robbers who'd break in and

21:00

take whatever they thought was worth

21:01

stealing. Did Owney get held up? gasped Sam.

21:06

Sort of... said Grandpa. But not by robbers...

21:13

Is Owney in prison? as Sam. I guess you

21:18

could call a kennel dog prison, said

21:21

Grandpa. When Owney's train crossed the

21:23

border into Canada and reached Montreal,

21:25

he followed the mail bags to the local

21:27

post office, which was his usual habit.

21:30

Seemed like a good idea. But wouldn't you

21:33

know it, they locked him up! I'll bet Owney

21:36

 wasn't happy about that, muttered Sam.

21:38

You got that right, Grandpa agreed. He was

21:42

a freedom-loving mutt. He wanted out. And

21:45

he missed his friends. Without Clark, Oney

21:49

was lonely...

[dog whimper]

21:57

and without Owney Clark was lonely, sighed Grandpa.

22:01

Then he sang in a wonderfully wistful way -

[rainfall]

[music]

22:04

When you go traveling with Owney

22:08

You're never in a lonely world

22:13

Were ever Owney goes

A chain of friendship grows

22:17

He jingles when he walks

22:18

That's his stamp of approval

22:22

You could never find a better crony

To join you on your daily ride

22:26

If the weather turns bad

22:32

There's no need getting sad

22:35

As long as Owney's by your side.

22:45

Did they ever let Owney go? asked Sam.

22:50

Well first there was a bit of a fuss, Grandpa

22:53

explained. The Montreal folks sent a

22:55

letter to the Albany folks, explaining

22:58

that they had Owney locked up. What did

23:01

the Albany folks do? They sent a letter

23:03

back to the Montreal folks saying, Let

23:05

the dog go! Did they let him go?

23:10

No. The Montreal folks sent a letter back to the

23:12

Albany folks saying that first they

23:15

wanted to be paid for the food and

23:17

lodging they had provided Owney.

23:20

Sam scratched his head. But if they hadn't

23:22

locked Owney in a cage in the first place,

23:24

they wouldn't have had to feed him at all.

23:27

[dog whimper]

[music]

23:29

I agree with your logic Sam, chuckle

23:35

Grandpa. But, the Canadian Postmaster

23:38

insisted that Owney would not be set free

23:41

until the Montreal Post Office had been

23:43

paid back for Owney's keep - every last cent!

23:47

How much money? asked Sam. A thousand

23:50

dollars? A whopping $2.50! declared

23:55

Grandpa. I know that doesn't sound like

23:57

much, but back then folks didn't get paid

24:00

a lot of money. So to them it was a big deal.

24:04

Clark and his male clerk friends all

24:06

pitched in a few pennies each and raised

24:08

the money to buy Owney's freedom.

[dog barking]

24:11

[music]

24:21

Everyone was so pleased to have Owney

24:23

back that they gave him even more tags.

24:26

He must have been happy, smile Sam.

24:30

Happy and heavy, Grandpa groaned. Too heavy!

24:35

By now there were five or six pounds of

24:37

kindness hung around that little pup's

24:39

neck. He needed some protection from all

24:41

that affection! Well, the hero who saved

24:48

the day was none other than the head of

24:50

the whole United States Post Office,

24:53

Postmaster General John Wanamaker!

Wow!

24:56

Always alert to improve things, the

24:59

Postmaster had a special harness made

25:01

that was spread the weight more evenly.

25:03

The tags were no longer a pain in the neck.

25:06

Owney was free to run and play and

25:14

his jingles made music, so they say!

25:17

When Owney trotted into town, folks could

25:19

hear him coming. The way they told it,

25:22

he jingled like the bells on a junk wagon.

25:24

A junk wagon? asked Sam. That sounds a

25:27

little mean.

25:29

Aw, Owney was rough around the edges and he

25:31

seemed to like it, said Grandpa with a

25:34

twinkle in his eye.

He made quite a stir

25:39

when he went cling-clanging right smack

25:41

in the middle of a fancy dog show!

25:44

Did they kick him out? asked Sam. No, sir,

25:48

they made Owney welcome at many exclusive dog

25:51

shows! The people did, that is. The fancy

25:55

dogs probably would have kicked him out

25:57

if they could. Then Grandpa showed Sam a

26:04

clipping from an old newspaper. Listen to

26:07

what was written about Owney when he

26:08

visited a San Francisco dog show in 1893.

26:12

Owney isn't out for a prize, just merely

26:15

for a visit. Speaking about this to a reporter,

26:17

Owney said that he had never

26:20

made any pretensions to a pedigree or

26:23

any noble ancestry. He just simply wishes

26:26

it impressed on the minds of the people

26:29

that he is an example of what a dog can

26:32

do for himself if he will only try.

26:33

Did Owney really

26:39

talk to a reporter? Sam gasped. I reckon

26:42

the reporter exaggerated that part of

26:44

the story of teensy bit, Grandpa winked.

26:47

I thought so, smiled Sam. Did Owney ever win a

26:50

medal? He did, indeed! That same year in

26:54

Los Angeles, Owney won a special medal at

26:56

the fifth annual bench show.

26:59

They described his point of superiority being

27:02

that he was the best traveled dog in the

27:06

whole show.

27:07

Maybe my puppy will win a medal someday, too,

27:09

Sam whispered excitedly.

27:17

By train and by trot, Owney crossed these United States

27:20

many a time. Even Mexico played host to

27:23

his joyous jingles. But now it was time

27:27

to circle the Earth! He went around the

27:30

whole world? asked salmon amazement.

27:33

He raced around the whole world, nodded

27:35

Grandpa. Just five years earlier, a man

27:38

named Mr. Train - and I'm not kidding,

27:41

Mr. George Francis Train - had traveled around

27:44

the world in just 67 days. He left from

27:47

Tacoma, Washington and wound up back in

27:51

Tacoma, Washington. They put up a shiny

27:53

plaque in that town to celebrate his

27:55

accomplishment. If Owney could beat that record,

27:58

it would sure make the news!

So, on August 19th, 1895,

28:08

Owney left Tacoma for his own world tour.

28:12

The trip was organized by Assistant

28:14

Postmaster Stockings. Hey! Wait a minute,

28:18

Sam cried. Stockings is our last name!

28:21

That's right, Sam. Your great-great-Grandpa

28:24

Stockings was one of Owney's great friends.

28:27

Wow! So this really is a true story.

28:31

Like I've been saying, grinned Grandpa. Owney was

28:36

given luggage so he could pack his doggy things.

28:39

Did he bring a squeak toy?

[squeak toy squeaking]

28:44

He brought a blanket, a brush, a comb, and

28:48

some of his extra fancy tags. When Owney

28:52

jangled up the gangway of the good ship

28:54

Victoria, hundreds of people cheered him on.

28:57

But he liked riding on trains, said Sam.

29:00

How did they get him on a ship?

29:03

Steamboats like The Victoria carried mail when the

29:06

oceans where trains couldn't go,

29:07

explained Grandpa. So there were lots of

29:11

mail bags aboard for Owney to sleep on.

29:13

[music]

29:16

[applause]

29:21

Out at sea Owney was treated like a king.

29:24

He had free access to the kitchen and

29:27

was invited to dine with the ship's captain.

29:29

They feasted on plumduff and lobscouse, and...

29:32

Plum-what? And lob-what?

29:35

asked Sam, who looked very confused.

29:39

Did you make up those words Grandpa?

29:41

Now I don't use made-up words for a true story,

29:44

Sam, chuckled Grandpa. Plum pudding and

29:49

meat stew with biscuits is all that means.

29:51

And they ate so many other tasty

29:53

treats, I can't even begin to tell you.

29:58

And Owney didn't have to pay for any of it?

30:01

Sam smiled. Because he was just a dog.

30:04

Well, in a way he did work for his meals,

30:08

Grandpa corrected him.

30:09

What kind of work? He was the official rat catcher.

30:12

Gross... well it made the cook

30:16

very happy not to have rats scurrying

30:18

around in the kitchen, replied Grandpa.

30:20

And when the cook was happy, Owney got more food.

30:23

[gong]

When Owney arrived in Japan,

30:35

the officials were very impressed with his

30:37

decorations! They thought he must be

30:39

either a dog of very high rank, or the

30:43

property of a distinguished person.

30:46

Owney was given a passport bearing the

30:47

personal seal of his Imperial Majesty, the Mikado.

30:50

Who was he? asked Sam.

30:55

The emperor of Japan, explained Grandpa.

30:59

Ruler of the whole country.

31:00

He gave Owney permission to enter Japan.

31:02

But inside the passport there was a list

31:05

of certain rules Owney was expected to obey during his visit

31:09

Like not jumping on the

31:12

couch? asked Sam. Owney was forbidden from

31:19

riding a horse while carrying fire, said Grandpa.

31:23

What? He was also asked not to

31:26

drive too fast on narrow roads. I have a

31:30

hunch Owney would have obeyed both of

31:32

those rules, even if he hadn't been asked...

31:36

Owney's journey took him from the

31:46

United States to Japan, then on to China,

31:49

Singapore, Suez, Algiers, Azores, and

31:55

finally all the way back to where he started.

31:57

Did he break the world record?

32:00

asked Sam anxiously. Well, no, Owney took

32:03

longer than 67 days, admitted Grandpa.

32:06

Circling the globe took him a full 132 days.

32:10

But everyone agreed that it was

32:13

still a rightly rapid rate of travel for

32:15

a dog who attracted so much attention.

32:22

Along the way, Owney met lots of nice

32:25

folks who made a fuss over him,

32:27

scratching his head and the like,

32:30

which means a lot to a dog.

32:31

And he collected over 200 new tags,

32:34

medals and certificates to add to his collection!

32:36

What a lucky dog! explain Sam.

32:39

You know, I'll bet that's exactly how he felt, Sam,

32:43

smiled Grandpa.

32:45

[music]

32:57

Owney, who was now called The Globe Trotter,

33:00

and who was probably the best known and

33:03

most popular dog in the whole wide world,

33:06

was happy to be back home.

33:09

He looks a little tired, said Sam.

33:13

Well, by this time he was getting on in years,

33:14

explained Grandpa. He limped a bit and

33:17

had lost the sight in one eye. He figured

33:21

it was time to retire from so much traveling.

33:25

Was he old like you, Grandpa? asked Sam.

33:35

Old and scruffy just like me, laughs Grandpa.

33:38

Yup, I think Owney was starting to look at

33:42

those Albany mail bags the same way I

33:44

look at our couch these days -

33:46

a cozy refuge upon which to park the old

33:49

caboose, if you get my drift. I wonder if

33:53

he snored like you? snickered Sam.

33:56

You probably couldn't tell us apart! grinned Grandpa.

33:58

Owney took one more trip

34:01

way out west to San Francisco in 1897.

34:05

He attended a convention of the National

34:07

Association of Railway Clerks. Well, these

34:10

were all his old friends, his family -

34:13

thousands of them - the whole audience!

34:17

And when Owney took center stage they went nuts!

34:19

They gave him a rousing fifteen-minute ovation.

34:22

They cheered! They clapped! They whistled!

34:26

[cheering, clapping, whistling]

Even Clerk Clark?

34:36

Especially Clerk Clark, said Grandpa,

34:39

launching into a tongue twister.

34:42

Clerk Clark clapped continuously creating a

34:45

crazy commotion at the convention.

34:47

Say that five times fast. No way! Sam kidded.

34:52

Grandpa's voice turned thoughtful now.

34:55

Of all the awards Owney had received during

34:57

his whole lifetime, this display of

35:00

affection was the greatest by far.

35:03

The best reward.

[applause]

[music]

35:16

To this day, folks still celebrate on his

35:20

amazing life, smile Grandpa, in books and

35:23

museums and even in song. Sam cuddled

35:26

with his puppy and listened happily as

35:28

Grandpa sang.

35:39

[song]

I’M A POST OFFICE CLERK
HERE IN ALBANY, NEW YORK
DEVOTED TO MY WORK
BUSY AS A STORK
MAKING SURE THE MAIL
GETS TO EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD
NOW HERE’S WHERE THE STORY GET’S GOOD

ON THE POST OFFICE FLOOR
UNDERNEATH A STACK OF MAIL
I THOUGHT I HEARD A “WOOF”
BUT THEN I SAW HIS TAIL
WHEN UP FROM THE PILE
POPPED THE CUTEST PUPPY SMILE
THAT’S WHEN I FELL IN LOVE WITH OWNEY

WHEN YOU GO TRAVELING WITH OWNEY
YOU’RE NEVER IN A LONELY WORLD
WHEREVER OWNEY GOES
A CHAIN OF FRIENDSHIP GROWS
HE JINGLES WHEN HE WALKS
THAT’S HIS STAMP OF APPROVAL

YOU COULD NEVER FIND A BETTER CRONY
TO JOIN YOU ON YOUR DAILY RIDE
IF THE WEATHER TURNS BAD
THERE’S NO NEED GETTING SAD
AS LONG AS OWNEY’S BY YOUR SIDE

WE STACK ALL THE MAIL BAGS
ON THE HORSE AND CART
HEAD TO THE STATION
WHERE THE TRAINS DEPART
THE MAIL CAR IS LOADED UP
AND WHEN THE WHISTLE BLOWS
OWNEY HOPS ABOARD
AND AWAY HE GOES
AND SO THE LEGEND GROWS
ALL ABOARD!!!!

[locomotive whistle blow]

EVERYWHERE HE GOES IN THIS GREAT BIG NATION
OWNEY GETS A TOKEN OF APPRECIATION

EVERYWHERE HE GOES IN THIS GREAT BIG NATION
OWNEY GETS A TOKEN OF APPRECIATION

(spoken)
Man 1: Go, little Owney!!
Man 2: Hey Owney, got any mail for me?
Boy: Go Owney! Go!

(Spoken/Megaphone)
OWNEY HAS BEEN HONORED
FROM SEATTLE TO QUEBEC
WITH TOKENS OF AFFECTION
PROUDLY PLACED ROUND HIS NECK
I’VE NEVER SEEN A DOG
COMMAND SO MUCH RESPECT
LET’S HEAR IT FOR OUR POST OFFICE POOCH

EVERYBODY’S TALKIN’ ‘BOUT OWNEY
THE PRIDE OF THE US MAIL
BAGS ARE TOSSED ABOUT
TRAINS GO IN AND OUT
BUT OWNEY KNOWS EXACTLY
THE ROUTE TO BE TAKEN

YANKEE DOODLE RIDING ON HIS PONY
WOULD BUCKLE UNDER SUCH A STRAIN
BUT WHEN THE WHISTLE BLOWS
EVERYBODY KNOWS
OWNEY’S RIDING ON THAT TRAIN
WHEN THE WHISTLE BLOWS
EVERYBODY KNOWS
OWNEY’S RIDING ON THAT TRAIN

BOSTON BROOKLYN WICHITA
DENVER DAYTON OMAHA
AHSLAND OAKLAND SAN JOSE
NASHVILLE KNOXVILLE OYSTER BAY
FLAGSTAFF EVANSVILE MUNCIE QUEENS
ALBUQUERQUE LANCASTER NEW ORLEANS
LOUISVILLE JACKSON HOLE SYRACUSE
PASADENA LITTLE ROCK BATTON ROUGUE

EVERYWHERE HE GOES IN THIS GREAT BIG NATION
OWNEY GETS A TOKEN OF APPRECIATION

EVERYWHERE HE GOES IN THIS GREAT BIG NATION
OWNEY GETS A TOKEN OF APPRECIATION

EVERYWHERE HE GOES IN THIS GREAT BIG NATION
OWNEY GETS A TOKEN OF APPRECIATION

[end of song]

39:42

How did Owney's story make you feel, Sam? asked Grandpa.

39:45

Like I'm proud to own a mutt! exclaimed Sam.

39:48

Have you picked a name

39:51

for your puppy yet? inquired Grandpa.

Tags!

39:55

Ah, fine choice, nodded Grandpa.

39:59

Now if you don't mind, I'll just open

40:02

that letter I brought you earlier today, and -

40:03

why lookie-here!

40:06

It's a pair of tickets for Sam and Tags,

40:08

good for one ride on the Owney Express!

40:12

No it's not, snickered Sam. You're just joking.

40:14

[music]

40:21

Okay you busted me, Sam.

40:23

Wait Grandpa I am joking about the

40:26

tickets but I'm one hundred and infinity

40:29

percent serious about that train ride!

40:31

Let's go!

40:32

Can we start in Albany? Sam asked, hugging

40:35

Tags with excitement.

40:36

Albany station! All aboard! bellowed Grandpa.

40:40

Toot-toot! hooted Sam.

40:43

Woof-woof! barked Tags.

40:45

Jingle-jangle added Owney from across the years.

40:49

[music]