Just before the beginning of the last century, Albany was known all around the world. Because of a dog.
Owney was a stray dog who wandered into the Albany, New York, post office in 1888. The clerks let him stay the night, and he fell asleep on a pile of empty mailbags. Owney was attracted to the texture or scent of the mailbags and began to follow them, first onto mail wagons and then onto mail trains. Owney began to ride with the bags on Railway Post Office (RPO) train cars across the state, and then the country. The RPO clerks adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot, marking his travels by placing medals and tags from his stops on his collar.
Owney accumulated so many medals that they started to weigh down his neck. The Postmaster General heard about this problem and ordered a special vest be made so that Owney could wear his medals and still get around.
In 1895, Owney was sent on a trip around the world -- in part via registered mail (classification: "Registered Dog Package") -- and made it back in a little more than four months, a feat which was front page news.
The New York Times described Owney as "[not] a handsome dog, but he has excellent qualities, and is kindly and intelligent."
A childrens book of Owney
July 27, 2011 the U.S. Postal System offered a stamp honoring Owney in a Forever stamp.