By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
Postal workers are asking families with a dog to make sure their canine companions are on a leash, or somewhere safe as they approach.
Dogs chasing postal workers is often a clichéd gag, but as Lori Glazier, a member of Canada Post’s local operations in Oshawa notes, the animals are still sometimes dangerous to postal workers.
Canada Post is currently doing a dog awareness campaign, and according to Glazier it is not only about the safety of mail deliverers, but dogs as well.
“The nice weather is coming around, and everybody wants to be outside,” she says. “Whether it be gardening, or cutting their grass, you might not have your dog tied up, and basically what we want is for dog owners to be aware of where their dog is.”
Glazier says she isn’t only saying this as a Canada Post employee, but also as a dog owner, and “dog lover.”
“I try to help out rescuing animals as much as I can,” she says.
However, she notes all dogs, no matter what size or breed, can be unpredictable.
“As a letter-carrier and delivery agent, we’ve all approached a driveway where a dog has been off the leash and you don’t see an owner,” she says. “Initially you just try to keep walking by, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes the dog does come and run after, chase you, bite you, whatever.”
What Glazier says Canada Post is trying to get across is if delivery agents or postal workers come up a driveway, keep dogs on a leash, be aware of where it is, or perhaps put it in the backyard.
According to Glazier, of the millions of homes Canada Post workers deliver to, 41 per cent have dogs in the house.
“At the end of the day, I would not want a dog to be disciplined for something that could have been avoided, I wouldn’t be able to sleep,” she says.
Glazier explains postal workers encounter dogs everyday on their routes, and she personally looks forward to seeing the dogs.
“Dogs make your day – they make my day when I’m out delivering mail,” she says. “But unfortunately some dogs aren’t as excited to see me as I am them. I think that’s when we’ve got to be aware of dog behaviour.”
She says while there haven’t been any reported incidents this year, she is sure all postal workers have been chased, whether it’s by a Chihuahua or a German Shepherd.
“Your first instinct is obviously to run, but you’ve got to stand there, and you know you’re standing there scared, but it’s too late so you don’t run,” she says. “You just let them sniff you, don’t make eye contact and hopefully they’ll walk away or hopefully the owner can see the dog and call him or her and get them away from you in time.”
She says residents can help keep postal workers and their dogs safe by simply being a “responsible dog owner.”
“We owe it to our dogs to have their best interest – we’ve got to protect them,” she says. “They’re trying to protect their house, their property, their family.”
She says she has had an incident involving a Chihuahua, where it got a hold of her pant leg, and before it got to her leg she had to pass it a bundle of mail in order to distract it.
Glazier adds postal workers also have to be careful around cats, as she notes they are extremely territorial.
“The point that we’re trying to get across, and like I said not only am I a Canada Post employee, I’m not here to say anything but I love dogs, I love my job, the dogs make my job, but we do have to remember it is an animal and all dogs are unpredictable and you don’t know how they are going to react,” she says.