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Places Owney Visited

Event Ideas

Sample Press Release

Customizable Posters and Leaflets

Customizable Postmarks

Cachet Envelope Designs

Other Resources

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Join stamp clubs
and communities
around the country
honoring Owney!

Welcome to the Owney Resource Page! The Owney stamp was released on July 27, 2011 by the US Postal Service. We've put together this web page to assist stamp clubs with their Owney related promotional activities and events.

Places Owney Visited

This interactive map displays places Owney visited from 1888-1897 based on information originally provided by the the Smithsonian National Postal Museum as seen on these two links:

    A newer compilation from these and other sources is available here:
  • Places Visited by Owney 1888-1897 by city (PDF)
  • Places Visited by Owney 1888-1897 by State (PDF)

    Clicking each red spot on the map below will display the city/town, country, and if known, date visited.

    Event Ideas

    There are many possibilities for stamp clubs to host Owney related events. Here are just a few to consider:

  • Contact your local Humane society and coordinate an Owney event with an "Adopt A Pet" event at a local shelter
  • Partner with a local pet shop and hold an Owney "Look-Alike" contest
  • Set up a table display or stamp exhibit at your main Post Office
  • Sponsor a children's story hour at a school classroom or library
  • Check to see if you have a train museum in the region and coordinate an event with them
  • Leave promotional posters and leaflets at your local post office

    Sample Press Release

    Sample Press Release (Microsoft WORD document)

    We have put together a press release that clubs may edit and use to promote their event. It includes background details about the Owney story that should be of interest to all. A downloadable Word version is above, and a text version is here:

    For Immediate Release

    Contact Details:
    City, ST ZIP


    Celebrate Owney’s Story with the ____ Stamp Club

    The _Name_ Stamp Club of _City/Town_ invites you to learn about Owney, the Railway Mail Service dog and stamp collecting at the _location_ on _date_. Club members will be on hand to introduce one and all to the hobby of philately. The public is also welcome to bring their stamps, envelopes and related items for a free informal appraisal of their holdings as part of the “What’s in Your Attic” program originated by the American Philatelic Society.

    Back in 1888 a small mixed breed stray mutt walked into the Albany, NY post office and made its home on a stack of bags destined for the mail trains. The dog became a “regular” and was eventually adopted by the Railway Mail Service employees there. Owney thus became one of the luckiest dogs in the world, for no one could have imagined what was in store for him.

    In those days moving the mail was fastest by train. Small and large train lines were contracted to carry that mail to depots across the country. Sorting and bagging were also done on custom-built cars to expedite mail handling. It was these specially trained mail clerks who became Owney’s companions and mentors for the rest of his life.

    Owney’s story spread from far and wide as the dog traveled from place to place over tens of thousands of miles. He became a celebrity nearly everywhere he visited and eventually someone came up with the idea to create a dog tag to commemorate his stay inscribed with the date and town’s name. The idea caught on. So many tags were given the dog that a specially designed harness was made to display them all and distribute their weight more evenly around his body. By the time Owney died in 1897, his tag collection had grown to well over 1000!

    Details of Owney’s story can be found on a web site run by the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum at His body was preserved and is on displayed at the museum in Washington, DC. Owney also went overseas as a post office ambassador, traveling around the world in 132 days.

    The U.S. Postal Service is issuing a new stamp on July 27, 2011 to honor Owney’s legacy and the postal employees who cared for him. A special cancel and envelope will be available as souvenirs of the _Name_ Stamp Club’s event.

    Fort more information, please use the contact information above.

    Customizable Posters and Leaflets

    These 8 1/2 x 11 inch posters are Microsoft WORD files and should print well in either color or black and white. Click an image to see it full size. All text is contained in text boxes and may be edited to fit your needs, including the first in each series that just has the letter "A" in them. To save any poster, right click on the image and left click "Save Target As..." to a hard drive location of your choice.

    US Map Background

    Do You Know About Owney?

    Owney Gets A Stamp

    Owney Background

    Club Honors Owney

    Superstar Traveler

    Here's a sample leaflet that can easily be customized with your club's name and contact information. Four print on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet. To save the sheet, in WORD format like the posters above, right click on the image and left click "Save Target As..." to a hard drive location of your choice.

    Customizable Postmarks


    Are you looking for a free, unique way to honor your Owney event? Consider a pictorial postmark from the US Postal Service!

    Officially they're called, "Cancellations for Philatelic Purposes," with details found here in Section 234- Pictorial Postmarks and here in PO 230 Pictorial Postmark Handbook. Smaller post offices may need to contact a larger post office or GMF to which they report for clarification on the process for applying for one.

    The three postmark designs shown above are available for use by your local USPS post office on behalf of your stamp club and/or community. The "First Day of Sale" cancel is exclusively for use on Wednesday, July 27, the day the Owney stamp is released by the US Postal Service. The second and third, "Owney Visits Station" and "Owney Event Station", may be used on any date desired in 2011. Each cancel design is 1.9 inches wide by 1.3 inches high.

    You must begin the process outlined below at least 10 weeks before the date of your event! First, contact your local post office and let them know that you are requesting a special postmark cancellation. There is no charge to apply for the special cancel, nor is there any cost to you to create the rubber stamp cancellation device itself, which USPSproduces for you.

    Your postmark design must be customized to include the date, city, state and zip code for your needs. Let us know which of the three cancel designs you want along with the customization details by sending this information by email to In a few days you'll receive a TIFF file of your completed design that must be submitted to your local post office for their approval. They can accept the design either as a TIFF file or in printed format.

    Then submit the following information to your Post Office:

  • The name, mailing address and telephone number of the contact person
  • The TIFF file or printed camera ready pictorial design we send you
  • A description of your event, or whether the postmark will only be made available at the Post Office

    The form your post office needs to send to Washington, DC to get approval and publicity for your cancel is here: PS 413 Pictorial Postmark Announcement-Report

    Of course, the post office should be at your event to sell stamps and use your special postmark if possible! Consider printing up souvenir cacheted envelopes (as seen in the next section) as a way of creating expensive souvenirs for all to enjoy with a stamp and cancel.

    Requests for these postmarks have come from:

    First Day of Sale, Wednesday, July 27
    Boyce, VA 22620- Post Office handback/mailback service. Railway Mail Service Library Contact:
                                (also offering Owney post cards and a CD about the mail rail services)
    Pittsfield, MA 01204- Post Office handback/mailback service. Contact:
    Prophetstown, IL 61277- Prophetstown Elementary School with local vet clinics and animal shelters. Contact:
    New York, NY 10199- James A. Farley Post Office handback/mailback service. Contact:
    Rochester, NY 14692- Jefferson Road Post Office handback/mailback service. Contact:

    Cachet Envelope Designs

    As long as you are getting a customized cancellation, take advantage of cachet designs created by a number of collectors. These are all in PDF format for 6 3/4 sized envelopes. Pick the ones you like and print them on a color ink jet or laser printer!
    Do you have a cachet to add to this list? We'd be happy to showcase it here if the design is not copyrighted, generic in nature (rather than customized for a single location, for example) and available for general public use. Email a 300 DPI JPG or PDF, to the full envelope size of 6 1/2 inches by 3 5/8 inches, to

    You can also start with a blank envelope template or one with a printed dog design and create your own! Add dog-related images, stickers, rubber stamps, etc. to personalize it further.

    Cachet 1 Cachet 2

    Cachet 3 Cachet 4 Cachet 5

    Other Resources

    Information about Owney and his travels can be found on many Internet sites. Here are just a handful of them!


  • Visit Owney's Facebook Page
  • Spring/Summer 1985 News for Schools from the Smithsonian Institution
  • Fun Stuff Activities Page
  • Collecting Antique Dog Tags


  • Owney's Story, by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum
  • Owney Tribute
  • Owney the Mail Dog: Story-Telling


  • 2004 "Bark" article Owney: The Mailman's Best Friend by Guy S. Salisbury


  • The Dog Tourist - Fort Worth Gazette, March 31, 1892 (Fort Worth, TX)- in lower left
  • Dog Tourist Owney - The Evening World, April 26, 1892 (New York City, NY);words=Owney+dogs+dog
  • Owney in Town - Arizona Republican, April 22, 1893 (Phoenix, AZ);words=dogs+Owney
  • Railroad Jack - New York Times, June 16, 1893 (New York City, NY)- Albany's second traveling pooch
  • Railroad Jack - The Morning Call, June 22, 1893 (San Francisco, CA)- Railroad Jack Alias Owney? False Report;words=Owney+dog+Dog
  • Travels of a Dog - Perrysburg Journal, April 7, 1894 (Perrysburg, OH);words=dogs+Owney+DOG+dog
  • The Railway Mail-Car Dog - New York Times, July 29, 1894 (New York, NY)
  • Owney - The Evening Bulletin, September 3, 1894 (Maysville, KY);words=OWNEY+Owney+Dog+dog
  • Owney the Mail Dog - Columbus Dispatch, September 19, 1894 (Columbus, OH)
  • A Dog on the Road - Hopkinsville Kentuckian, January 4, 1895 (Hopkinsville, KY);cc=hopnews;rgn=full%20text;idno=hop1895010401_sn86069395;didno=hop1895010401_sn86069395;view=pdf;seq=2
  • Owney in Town Again - The San Francisco Call, April 16, 1895 (San Francisco, CA)- first column;words=Owney
  • En Route to this City-the Postal Clerk's Dog - New York Times, October 27, 1895 (New York, NY)
  • Owney, A Great Traveler - New York Times, December 24, 1895 (New York City, NY)
  • Owney in New Orleans - Houston Daily Post, January 26, 1896 (Houston, TX)- in second column
  • Owney, the American Post Office Dog - Grey River Argus, February 20, 1896 (Greymouth, New Zealand)
  • A Much Traveled Dog - Omaha Daily Bee, March 15, 1896 (Omaha, NE)- note the illustration's spelling of "Ownie"
  • "Inspector" Owney Here - New York Tribune, July 1, 1896 (New York City, NY);words=dog+OWNEY
  • A Distinguished Dog - Evening Post, September 19, 1896 (Wellington, New Zealand)
  • “Owney” Still Lives - The St. Paul Globe, May 3, 1897 (St. Paul, MN);words=dog+OWNEY
  • Postal Dog “Owney” Killed - L’Abeille de la Nouvelle Orleans, July, 1897 (New Orleans, LA)- second column
  • A Wise Post Office Dog - New York Times, March 20, 1910 (New York City, NY)- with details on Owney's demise


  • 2010-11 Visiting Owney School Project - (Buy your own plush Owney here)
  • Reader's Theater Play for "Owney, the Mail Pouch Pooch"
  • "Moving the Mail" Lesson Plan from Omaha Public Schools
  • A Teacher’s Guide to “A Railway Mail Service”


  • Mail by Rail
  • Railway Post Office Cars Sort & Distribute Mail
  • The Post Office Role in U.S. Development
  • Processing Mail in Transit: the Railway Mail Service and Railway Post Offices
  • The Railway Mail Service (1884 Article)
  • Museum Locations of Railway Post Office Mail Cars
  • Video Clips from "Men and Mail in Transit" and "Mail in Motion"


    Owney's Trip Around the World by Charles Frederick Holder (online story in St. Nicholas Magazine, Volume 23, Number 9 from July, 1896. See page 720. PDF)
    Owney, the Post Office Dog and Other Great Dog Stories
    online book with another version here
    (Read it Online)

    Illustration from Artman Graphic Design and the book, "The Further Adventures of a Lucky Dog, Owney, U.S. Rail Mail Mascot"


    Stamp Collecting Postcard & Cancel

    Send us your thoughts and ideas!

    © Webmaster Tom Fortunato