Big Bone Saturdays
A rule-breaking postman-puppy love story.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Cookie, a golden Labrador, comes trotting down her driveway to meet mailwoman Jane. Cookie finds the empty milk carton in her mouth a fair trade for a Milk-Bone dog biscuit Jane offers.
“Cookie’s the balls!” says Jane with a huge smile. “I have to give her two bones now and tell her, ‘Go home!’ so she won’t follow me.”
On the surface, all seems utopian with this scene, only Jane is not really Jane. It’s a pseudonym this post carrier has requested because her daily dog bone camaraderie defies post office policy: Carriers may not feed dogs because it increases dog bites.
For Jane, who’s carried mail in Monterey County for five years, that’s not an option—delivering mail, it seems, is a just a cover for her clandestine friendships. Jane justifies her misdemeanors by paying for the habit herself and by mostly putting treats in mailboxes so owners can feed their animals personally, thereby eliminating the step involving the potential for bites. But there are times, she admits, when she can’t resist a direct feed. Her current route, a rural one, has about 150 households with dogs, and she says she has never encountered a mean canine.
On weekdays, Jane gives small biscuits to save up for the main event, which she’s coined Big Bone Saturdays. In preparation, she buys 15 pounds of large Milk-Bone biscuits.
Jane has even expanded her operation to include cats, pigs and horses. Pigs get corn tortillas, horses get carrots and the occasional apple, and one household of adopted cats gets toys and treats. At Christmas, each animal receives a gift pouch.
“I have no idea how much money I spend,” she says. “I try to look for deals. The universe helps me, providing great deals at the right time.
“And my husband hasn’t said anything, so I just keep doing it.”