SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Mike Dame has been a letter carrier for almost 18 years. There’s a lot about the job he loves.
“Meeting new people. Getting to know my customers. Helping out the community. I watch their children grow up. You become basically friends with them. And they look forward to seeing me I hope,” he said.
But of course, it comes with some challenges.
“I was walking up to a mailbox on a porch and the dog came from around the house. I was new to the route so I wasn’t aware of the dog. Next thing I know the dog was at my ankle biting me,” Dame said.
Close to 5,600 letter carriers were attacked by dogs across the country last year. Now Mike said he doesn’t have too many animals along his route, but when he’s delivering mail to some 500 homes each day he still runs into 40-50 dogs along the way.
There are steps letter carriers take to protect themselves: that navy satchel isn’t just for hauling your mail — it can also serve as a barrier if needed. They also fill out dog warning cards to keep at the post office, in case another letter carrier fills in.
“You write down what time you get to the house every day usually and the type of dog it is. The size. The name if you know the name,” said Dame.
But there are precautions you can take, too. Take your dog inside during the window of time your letter carrier usually stops by. Put them in another room so they don’t get too excited looking through a window or screen. And remind your kids not to take mail directly from letter carriers, which dogs could view as threatening.
“It might be friendly to you and your family, but to a stranger you never know how it’s going to react,” Dame added.
Simple measures to take, so that neither snow, rain, heat, nor dogs.. keep your mailman from the swift – and safe – completion of his appointed rounds.