Canine Times Exclusive
|An interview with PoGeo at home, Bright Star Farm in Bethlehem, NH.
A breezy summer day about 70º, chickens roam freely among grasses, tall pine and a big barn.
CT: Hello. Nice of you to fit us in. What's with all these chickens running around?
PoGeo: Good Morning. I'm always glad to see visitors. Chickens? Well, ... These aren't just ordinary chickens, they're Rhode Island Reds. We raise them for eggs. They're free range, meaning they forage for themselves, eating what they find in the barnyard.
CT: You seem to know a lot about chickens.
PoGeo: Well yeah. That's part of my job.
CT: Job? I thought you were the host of Postcard Geography.
PoGeo: Well, that's just a part-time thing I was asked to do because I had an interesting experience as a pup, and was fortunate to see a good piece of America. So they asked me to host this part of the website. Mostly, I'm a working dog. I've always got to be busy.
CT: Well, I thought I'd find you lounging on the porch, enjoying the scenery and cool breezes, and answering fan mail.
PoGeo: Ha! Oh no, that 's not for me. I can't laze around munching doggie treats. I like to earn my keep. I'm a hired paw, bunking in the barn with my buddies who dubbed me the Barn Boss, because I'm always barking orders. I make sure everybody's accounted for before lights out, and make sure there's no ruckuses in the middle of the night.
CT: Ruckuses? Are there fights?
PoGeo: Well, not so much the regular farm animals, although a couple of the roosters get rambunctious occasionally. I'm talking about the outside animals, the native critters like bear, foxes, skunks and fishers. Those guys have tried just about everything to make a quick meal out of some of my pals. They're not bad guys, really. They just don't understand us newcomers, and maybe we don't always respect and understand them. I keep peace by refereeing, which is just barking down both sides before somebody gets hurt. I like them both, but the wild ones can be dangerous if you don't respect them.
CT: Tell us how you got your name.
PoGeo: My earliest recollection was being in the back of big truck, caged up with a bunch of other pups on a very jerky ride. None of us liked being locked up like that. Rumor was, we were headed for some super-sized pet market. I wasn't keen on the idea of spending the next few months sitting in a cage at a pet warehouse super store with a price tag dangling from my neck, so, when the driver stopped for a coffee I took a chance and busted out.
CT: You broke free! How? Thousands of dogs would like to know.
PoGeo: Hmm . . . I'm not to proud of my behavior. Let's just say the truck driver won't be stopping for coffee anymore when he's got a payload of puppies.
CT: What happened next?
PoGeo: Well, there I was in the big citya scary place for a scrawny pupwhen I saw a FedEx truck parked by the curb. Since I was looking to get fed right away, I hopped in back among the packages and hitched a ride. I was mistaken, though, about what the "fed" part meant. Anyway, when a delivery was made at a nice looking house, I jumped out and sat next to the package until the owners came home. They took me in and fed-and-bed me for the night. But I high-tailed out of there the next morning because all night the dad was yelling at the mom and the mom yelled at the son and I knew pretty soon they'd all be yelling at me. So I left at dawn. I had to walk a long way, far enough so no one would recognize me. I kept walking and walking until I saw an old cottage and an old man tenderly hoeing his garden. The name on the mailbox read, SAMUEL OSGOOD. I thought, "With a name like Oz-Good, he must be kind. A Good Samaritan. So I went up to his rickety back porch and sat there waiting to be found. He laughed when he saw me. Took me in, fed me some hamburger, and later we watched old black-and-white films on TV. We got along fine. I was a bit worried the next day when he asked his neighbors if anyone knew who I belonged to. And I was particularly tense when he asked his mailman. "Uh-oh," I thought. "The mailman will have heard about me." But he hadn't.
So Osgood and I had a happy time together. We got along great for a couple of weeks until one morning he went outside to collect his mail and suddenly collapsed by the mailbox. I felt a pain in my chest when I saw him fall. I wanted to run out and rescue him, but the door what shut tight. The mailman, George, found Mr. Osgood and ran into the house to phone the hospital. That's when he saw me sitting there frightened out of my wits. George picked me up and took me back to the post office. He and the other postal workers made me feel right at home. They fixed up a bed for me in a large Priority Mail box and wrapped me up in George's jacket. But they didn't know my name, and frankly neither did I. Osgood never gave me a name. Then one of the postal workers looked over and laughed. "Hey, George, there's his name right on the jacket. See?" The big jacket wrapped around me had the initials, "P.O." for Post Office on one side and "Geo.," short for George, on the other side, which spelled PoGeo. That's the name they gave me. I liked it. We all did. I grew up at the Post Office. Every morning I rode beside George in his truck, delivering mail. I really liked delivering postcards, because I could read the messages and see the world through pictures. I guess you could say I cut my teeth on postcards. Mail is in my blood.
CT: Speaking of postcards, how did you meet up with the Postcard People?
PoGeo: Well, I stayed with George a few years through several job transfers all across the country. Until the big boss from D.C. showed up one day while George was stationed in Virginia and said I had to leave because I was against regulations. George didn't know what to do. But then he remembered that the Postcard People, Ken and Priscilla, were wintering in Williamsburg, not too far away. We couldn't believe our luck. We knew Ken and Priscilla from our different jobs across the country and had been following their travels on the Web. Met them a few years ago when George was stationed in Minnesota and they were living in their trailer at the RV park where George and I picked up mail. I was surprised by how many postcards they sentseveral hundred a week. Since I love postcards, I naturally had to find out more about these Postcard People. I found out they were touring the whole countryall 50 statesand sending postcards from each state to people back home. I got to know Ken and Priscilla pretty well in Minnesota since they had an extra long stay there while their RV was being repaired. George would sometimes drop me off and I would tour a site with them for the day. I think they liked my ability to sniff out the unusual things. But as people come and go in RV parks, they soon departed. We hated to see them go.
A year later, George was transferred to a post office in Idaho where we met up with them again, this time, sending postcards by the thousands! The following year George was transferred to Virginia and we ran into Priscilla and Ken again in Williamsburg. By now, I was no longer a pup. I wanted to get out and see even more of country than I had seen with George. Just as I was getting this wanderlust, George's big boss found out about me and I had to leave the post office anyway. Luckily, I was able to join Ken and Priscilla as they completed their 50-state tour. To earn my board, I hosted the Postcard Geography part of their website, not letting on that I didn't consider it work at all. At first Priscilla and Ken hesitated about a dog as a host, but I wagged my tail and showed a lot of enthusiasm. The next week, Bingo! I was in for keeps, outfitted with a bed in the trailer, driving across the country with the Postcard People.
In the meantime, George was transferred to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Ken and Priscilla decided to spend the summer there so that I could see George again. The White Mountains are fabulous. Ken and Priscilla loved the place too, so much that they made it their home base between traveling.
George, now married, was glad to see me. I rejoined him on his mail route a few times. But when he got a promotiona desk jobI returned to the Postcard People and I started something new, the PoGeo Club.
CT: The Postcard Club? Sounds interesting. But we'll have to find out more about that next time. It's been great hearing about your life, so far, from pup to teen. From FedEx, to the Post Office, to the Postcard People, to the Postcard Club. There's definitely a trend here. We'll check back with you again, PoGeo, to see how things change. They're always changing with you, eh?
|NOTE TO NEW YORK TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, USA TODAY and other mainstream news outlets: PoGeo does not speak English, although he does understand and read English. When he speaks, most humans will only hear his enthusiastic barking. However, you can read his interviews and stories through the English version of any of these newspapers: THE DAILY BONE, DOGMA, THE HYDRANT, THE DAILY SCOOP, DOGGONE MONTHLY, TATTLE TAILS and CANINE TIMES. News hounds sniffing out stories are invited to interview PoGeo anytime.
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