Owney was a scruffy mutt who became a regular fixture at the Albany, New York, post office in 1888. His owner was likely a postal clerk who let the dog walk him to work. Owney was attracted to the texture or scent of the mailbags and when his master moved away, Owney stayed with his new mail clerk friends. He soon began to follow mailbags, first onto mail wagons and then mail trains. Owney began to ride with the bags on Railway Mail Service (RMS) trains across the state . . . and then the country! The Railway Mail Service clerks adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot.

Postal workers and others began to mark Owney’s travels by placing tokens, tags, and medals on his collar. These items included baggage check and hotel room key tokens, dog licenses, and numerous items given to the dog by a variety of individuals and organizations.

Owney received this identification tag from Howard Young of St. Paul, Minnesota. Young worked as a brakeman for the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, & Omaha railway. The tag is also inscribed “F.L.T.,” or Friendship, Love and Truth, a signifier of the fraternal organization known as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. There is no information on the tag to indicate when Owney may have received it.

literal: I.O. OF / F.L.T. / HOWARD YOUNG / 21 CENTRAL AVE. / ST / PAUL / MINN

Museum ID: 0.052985.139

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  • Title: Howard Young Owney tag
  • Date Created: 1888/1897
  • Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Location Created: St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Medium: metal