Left: Image of mail truck courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
I am writing this post in large measure just to vent, as well as to hear some suggestions from folks in similar situations. Feel free to leave thoughts in the comments section.
Several months ago, my dog snuck out the front door and jumped on the mail carrier, who claimed that the dog bit her. She rolled up her government-issue winter coat and pointed to her forearm, but I did not see any marks. Still, I didn't want to get her any more agitated, so I apologized profusely and let the matter go rather than get into an argument about what constitutes a bite.
The dog in question is my 2-year-old Puggle, who is about 20 pounds. He has never bitten anyone before, though I do acknowledge he can be a bit hyper. On the occasions when he has gotten out, he stays right by the house, though I know this is no excuse and we need to be more vigilant about the dog.
Last week the same dog got out again while the carrier was two houses away. He just stood outside the fence and barked, but did not charge or jump on her. The carrier hollered at me for permitting the dog to get out.
Now, I understand that carriers have a right to expect owners to restrain dogs, and I also know that it is my responsibility to keep my dog under control. However, by the weekend the carrier made a unilateral decision to stop delivering my mail because the dog ran along the fence and barked.
Not "jumped." Not "bit." Just "ran along the fence and barked."
Of course, it takes a few days to figure out the mail has stopped, and we did not get any notice. I called the station yesterday, and the employees knew of no reason why my mail was not being delivered, nor was my mail at the station.
So I waited for the carrier today, and she took a few extra minutes to gossip with my neighbors about the "dog problem." When she showed across the street from my house, she was belligerent and informed me that she would not deliver mail to my house - or any house within an undefined area she called "your neighbors" - if the dog was outside. She was also pissed that I "called her boss and complained" the prior day, which was not the case. My call was of short duration, focused solely on the missing mail, and was conducted with the person who answered the main number.
Every word out of my mouth was met with a combative reply. After she brought up the "bite" and I asked if she had any medical bills (thinking I would do the honorable thing and pay them), she accused me of calling her a liar. Since she refused to cross the street to my house, I had to raise my voice to be heard, at which point she hollered: "Don't yell at me!"
It was like one of those pointless circular arguments with one of my drama-loving teenagers, except the stakes were a lot higher, and I can't send the carrier to her room.
Moreover, she absolutely refused to entertain suggestions I offered to solve the problem, such as having her give the dog treats, or letting me walk the dog on a harness to acclimate him to the carrier. Her ultimatum was clear: if the dog is outside, nobody gets mail, and she threatened to call the dog warden on us.
My dilemma is this: I believe that if I try to go over her head and complain, all I will wind up with is a carrier with an axe to grind. Yet the carrier is being unreasonable, and I am concerned that she will go ballistic and accuse me of being provocative if I happen to be walking the dog when she is in the neighborhood, or if I act in any other innoccuous manner that she decides puts her at risk from my dog.
And at no point did I receive the dreaded "dog letter" that the postmaster is supposed to send out when service is disrupted due to dog problems.
Then there is the issue of my missing mail: if it wasn't at my house, and it wasn't at the post office station, where the hell was it? Does the carrier take other customers' mail home with her when decides they have broken the rules? Does it sit in a truck? In her locker?
Thanks again for allowing me to vent, and I look forward to the opinions of readers.