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We Deliver Dog Kicks: San Diego Letter Carrier Accused of Punting Pooch

Mel is the scribbling Postman from San Diego who really does enjoy puppies, friendly people, and long walks on the beach.

In memoriam for a departed brother: Oceanside letter carrier Eddie Lin did not kick a dog.  He did die trying to avoid one.

In memoriam for a departed brother: Oceanside letter carrier Eddie Lin did not kick a dog. He did die trying to avoid one.

Doggy Disputes Deconstructed by the Postal Tsunami

In the faithful execution of his or her sworn duties, the most important part of a letter carrier's anatomy is the hand, of course, but the foot follows a close second. Feet, plural, to be more precise. Hopping around on one leg is not the postal-preferred method of locomotion. That aside, a letter carriers' feet are most commonly used to ambulate between mail boxes, but in dire emergencies they can also be employed as either a method of self-defense, or for preemptive attack.

Where defense against canines is concerned, the fine line between self-defense and preemptive attack is a tightrope on which even Philippe Petit, the man who walked a high line between the twin towers of the World Trade center in 1974, might fear to tread. This gray area of ethical ambiguity is where letter carriers sometimes get in trouble. Even though a dog owner might swear—my pup was just minding his own business when that nasty mailman came along and kicked him, the mailman with the happy chorus-line feet will respond, I could tell that cur was going to bite me, so I kicked it first.

Even though letter carriers are doggy psychologists by necessity, the American Public does not understand our keen insights into the canine mind, and a public outcry often results. This is especially true on slow new days, if such a thing is still possible in the post-Donald world.

The Postal Tsunami by Mel Carriere

The Postal Tsunami by Mel Carriere

Letter Carrier Gets His Kicks

I think it was last week sometime that we were given a stand-up talk—lately known as a "huddle" to try and make it sound more intimate and friendly, more of a group hug than a brutal beat-down—during which we were told that a letter carrier in San Diego had been accused of kicking a dog. Management told us that there was a video released in the news showing this unfortunate incident. This was obviously an embarrassment to the Postal Service. They told us not to kick any more dogs.

As the manager delivered these words of warning, just about every letter carrier in the group was thinking, so much so that the combined mental energy created a ripple in the air that was clearly audible, that I've kicked a dog before and I'll kick one again. What else you gonna do when all you've got is your shoe? Sometimes a well-placed squib kick is the only thing that can save you from having a chunk ripped out of your leg.

Upon clocking out from work, I immediately set about trying to find this so-called video of the alleged dog-kicking. Although I did find the news report on the incident, which in a world full of Trump-riots and border protests seems rather incongruous and pitifully awkward there on the ten o'clock news, there was no accompanying video that shows the letter carrier kicking the dog. Either there is a cover-up of Kennedy conspiracy proportions, or the video part was made up to add credibility to a story that frankly reeks like somebody stepped in a steaming pile of he-said, she-said.

Straight on or soccer style, a letter carrier can put a little furry football through the uprights.

Straight on or soccer style, a letter carrier can put a little furry football through the uprights.

Kicking Confessions

I'm not necessarily proud of it, but I lay my soul bare before you in confessing that I am guilty of kicking a dog, in self-defense. I may have told you this story before, but a mini-Doberman came at me through a fence and before I realized what was happening it was doing back-flips in the air, propelled into near-Earth orbit by the action of my size 15 shoe.

Although I am sure there exists a sadistic handful of letter carriers that go out of their way to do harm to dogs, the great majority of us do not. Instead of deliberately kicking dogs out of some kind of vicious spiteful streak, many of us secretly pet pooches on our route, even though we are not supposed to. In most cases there is either an outright amicable relationship between dog and mailman, or at least mutual tolerance of the other's presence.

But just as these furry packages come in a multitude of colors, breeds, and degrees of scruffiness, dogs also vary in their dispositions and personality types, as do people. Either because of physical abuse or they were born bad to the bone, some dogs are just plain mean and will attack without provocation. That is when a mutt might require a good knick knack paddywack to make it go rolling home,

As a case in point, just last week a large German Shepherd came at me through a ripped window screen. Although I was certain that a mauling was in my immediate future, I am a slippery old fart and managed to fight the beast off by swatting at him with the letters in my hand, until the owner came out and restrained the animal.

In situations like this, what's a mailman supposed to do, stand there and let a vicious dog rip into his flesh? More realistically, when a letter carrier's life is on the line he or she will take matters into his or her own hands, or feet, depending on which weapon is more readily available. He won't ask permission first during some let's all join hands and sing Kumbaya postal huddle.

Left - What the owner sees / Right - What I see

Left - What the owner sees / Right - What I see

Lonesome George Delivers Dog Safety Tips with The Delaware Destroyers

Furry Fake News?

February 2, 2017 must have been an awfully slow news day. Donald Trump insulting the Australian Prime Minister and riots in Berkeley were not enough to fill up a thirty-minute time slot. The local news hacks here in San Diego had to go digging. They took their pooper-scoopers with them.

In the North Park neighborhood of America's finest city, the keen investigative instincts of these journalistic sleuths uncovered that woman who claimed her dog had been kicked, unprovoked, by the mailman. Since there are always an eager handful of postal haters who love any story that barks out negative news about the Post Office, this clip looked like good enough filler to keep the minimum number of butts in front of the TV through the commercials. You can see the video for yourself via the link I have provided below.

The uninitiated, at first glance, meaning those who don't make a living enduring the bogus protests of customers who claim that their pacifist, vegetarian pups are absolutely Gandhi-like in their abhorrence of violence, would have no reason to doubt that the dog owner on the video is telling the truth. For instance, why isn't that docile, but strangely overgrown Chihuahua in the story not barking at, or trying to bite the reporters? If the dog is so mean that the letter carrier is forced to kick at it in anger, wouldn't it attack everybody?

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On the other hand, or foot as it were, any seasoned letter carrier will tell you that some dogs who are all happy tail wags and hand licking while being walked down the street on a leash turn into raging, rabid, psychopathic brutes on their home turf. The territorial instinct awakens the inner demons of even the sweetest lap dog.

It looks to me like the interview with this outraged dog owner took place out in the street. In the canine mind, the street is no-man's land. It is a cease-fire zone. It is a wide-open, unprotected, borderless anarchy full of unknown horrors, and little dogs like this must be on their best behavior while passing through it. Take it back to the confines of its neat little yard, where it rules as undisputed sovereign, and this dog might take your leg off.

On my own route, there is a dog named Red who gives me a cheery doggy smile while his owners are out walking him. Back home, if the front door to the house is left open, he charges out and tries to amputate my arm as I am reaching through the gate toward the mailbox. The split-personality theory may be a bogus courtroom defense at human murder trials, but in the canine world it is a common character trait.

According to this news item, the Postal Service seems to be backing the letter carrier's version of events. Part of the reason Postal Supervisors are so cross-eyed they can't see the reality of the mail stacked before you may be because they roll their eyes so frequently, listening to cock-eyed stories from customers who swear my halo-wearing hound would never hurt anyone, can I get my mail delivery back?

Managers are also well acquainted with certain postal prevaricators who exaggerate or concoct dog attack stories from whole cloth to get another delivery or two shaved from their routes. Although they can't ascertain the significance of the two APCs full of parcels I am loading into my postal vehicle, for the most part they can separate truth from fiction where it comes to wagging doggy tales.

We will probably never learn who is the ultimate villain in this case. The story will vanish into obscurity, just like this blog will, just like the thousands of other filler news stories that don't have the word TRUMP blaring in bold headlines above them. Therefore, why don't we just close out this edition of the Postal Tsunami with the sage words of the poet, good old Lonesome George:

Listen to me dog before you start to whine, That side's your's and this side's mine

Like the philosopher George Thorogood says, you stay on your side of the line, little fuzzball, I'll stay on mine, and you won't have to risk the uncontrolled flailing action of my size 15 feet.

Letter Carrier Kicks Dog?

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on July 08, 2019:

Thank you Rae for your nice words and your contribution to the discussion. You are fortunate your dog kicking did not show up on video, otherwise those same managers who are glad you are all right will be crucifying you to preserve their public image. But what can you do? Self-preservation is a powerful thing and the "mace" is not much of a deterrent, as you said.

I appreciate you dropping by.

Rae on July 05, 2019:

Well written piece, with a good dose of humor. Lord knows we need it sometimes. Especially after seeing the kid in the photo :(

I recently had to employ my foot for things other than walking when a big aggressive pit bull busted through the gap in the gate. I hated doing it, but if it's big, can latch on, shake and not let go, my mace kind of seems inadequate next to a good kick (dog's sometimes shake it off and go "now what?"). And it worked. Dog fine, didn't get a bite in. It did what I told it to after that, which was "get back in its" yard. I apologized to the kid who was in the yard...but told her I didn't have a choice. The brief flash went through my mind of "dog grabs arm, pulls me to the ground and then goes for my throat" right before I kicked it. I love dogs, so kicking one is definitely not something I seek to do and now not sure how it's going to respond when it sees me again. I've never been at a stand-up talk about not kicking a dog and others have confided they've had to do that before (no one who said that are what I would deem sadistic - they all love dogs, but they also value their own limbs). Told supervisor after it happened that if they received a complaint, that was what happened. They simply said they were glad I was alright.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on March 07, 2017:

Thank you poeticmc. Dogs are not easily dissuaded from a dog biscuit, when your big fat exposed calf is there ripe for tasting. I appreciate you dropping by.

MD Johnson from San Diego, CA on March 07, 2017:

LMAO!!! Isn't this something a milk-bone or doggie biscuit could cure? (Kicking Confessions) Awesome story!!!

Jennifer Mugrage from Columbus, Ohio on February 16, 2017:

Wow, that's terrible. Thanks for filling in a few details. He does look like he wouldn't hurt a fly.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 15, 2017:

Thank you Clayton. PETA might not like you, but the rest of us are on your side and we're not telling. I appreciate you dropping in.

Clayton on February 15, 2017:

In my 23 years I had to defend myself by kicking a dog. From small to large. My worst case was a chow/pit mix around 70 lbs. He bolted out the door at me. I had enough time to drop a knee to his ribs and right hook his face. I then proceeded to put my foot under his chin. The whole time the owner watched. She got him in the house and all she could say was "wow, you don't need any spray". I figured it was him or me!!

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 11, 2017:

Maybe that's a story for another day, Jennifer. To sum up the whole tragic affair, he fell down a staircase while being chased by a Rottweiler and bumped his head against a rail. He died in the hospital that night or the next day. I didn't know him, but looking at his picture makes me tear up, because I can't see an ounce of malice in him. I'm sure he is missed by lots of people, and out of control dog owners who think their sweet pet can do no wrong are to blame. I never blame the dog, only the owner. Thanks for checking in with your nice words.

Jennifer Mugrage from Columbus, Ohio on February 11, 2017:

There is so much to love about this Hub ... It should get you a book deal all by itself. It really should.

My only gripe is, you never told us the story of Eddie Lin.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 11, 2017:

Friendly canines are one of the joys of this job, Linda. Believe it or not, some dogs are so happy to see me that they whimper with happiness. Other dogs scold their companions for barking at me. In spite of the occasional bad seed, I would not want to work in a dogless Postal Universe. Thanks for dropping in!

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 11, 2017:

Blond Logic,

If I had to deal with Bulls as well as dogs every day, I would probably quit. In some parts of the US, letter carriers are greeted by alligators in front of mailboxes. Fortunately, here in San Diego we have pretty good animal control. They respond quickly to these complaints and force the dog owners to comply. Thanks for dropping in!

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 11, 2017:

Larry, this is where the he-said she-said comes into play. The carrier says he was trying to put the mail in the box and the dog approached him aggressively. The lady says she was just taking the dog out for a walk and the carrier went out of his way to be mean to it. Some mailmen are mean, but they get a reputation. If the managers are backing the letter carrier on this issue, I am inclined to believe that his version of events is closer to the truth. Thanks for dropping in.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 11, 2017:

Mills, in 23 years I have never had a single incident with a cat. Most of the time when I see a cat in front of a mail box they start meowing because they think I am going inside and they want to be let in. Cats range from lovable with a hidden agenda to indifference. I have never had one attack me. Well, one might have hissed at me once.

I am sure your Pumpkin is all about Pumpkin. I don't think he's going to maul the mailman in defense of the homestead. I love cats, but I don't think I would go into battle with one. Thanks for dropping in.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 11, 2017:

We're trying to avoid the T-word here Bill, if at all possible, but it's not at all possible. Dogs can be furry friends, or furry fiends. Maybe we love them so much because they are so much like us. Thanks for reading!

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 11, 2017:

Mike, I do get along with most dogs. Once the owner escorts you past the front door, then you've passed the sniff test and the dog thinks your paperwork is in order. But when you are outside the fence, putting the mail in the box, the dog thinks you are just another enemy pounding at the gates. They react accordingly. Some dogs learn to accept you after a while, others do not.

I appreciate you dropping in and commenting.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 11, 2017:

I love dogs, but I have to agree that some can cause problems. It's the responsibility of the owner to keep their dog out of the way of visitors if the owner knows that there could be a problem with the pet's behaviour. Good luck with your future dog encounters, Mel. I hope you meet only friendly canines in the future.

Mary Wickison from USA on February 11, 2017:

Dog's will protect their territory and if a person wants mail to their door, they had better get that darn thing under control. People should realize that having these services is a privilege, not a right.

Where I live, there is no mail delivery everyone who lives outside the city has to go and pick up their mail.

In my neighborhood, the majority of dogs are unthethered and roam free. When I walk to the shop, I always take a 6-foot stick with me and will happily use it on any dogs which come near me.

I am still concerned about the bulls, the local cattle farmer lets his animals fend for themselves. A 6" stick isn't much good against a full grown bull.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on February 11, 2017:

I'm a dog lover. I also have a way with them. I tend to be able to calm them down, even if they're in an ill humor, but sometimes all you can do is give a swift kick. You have to defend yourself.

Does the responsibility not fall on the owner? They know the mail comes every day. If they want to receive it, they should have enough sense to have there dog out of the way.

Pat Mills from East Chicago, Indiana on February 11, 2017:

I suppose we won't ever really know who was right here. Just because this dog owner claims her dog isn't aggressive doesn't mean the pooch doesn't have - and sometimes use - aggressive instincts. She may have a point, but the carrier seems to have been protecting himself. Now I'd worry if my cat Pumpkin got loose and approached a mail carrier. He might bite because he's still young enough to be teething and stalking. My door is always closed, though, so there is a barrier between him and any visitor. I just hope my guy would just give a friendly claw of the carrier's shoes or pants just to say hello.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 11, 2017:

I love dogs and I gotta tell ya, I would kick one in a heartbeat if it meant me not bleeding from bites. There comes a time when self-preservation trumps all else. :) Ewwwwww, I used the word "trump."

Old Poolman on February 11, 2017:

Mel - Having been a telephone man for 25 years and then in the swimming pool service business for another 20 years, I am very familiar with this dog issue.

The only thing that saved me is that most dogs like me for some reason. Perhaps they think I am one of them?

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on February 10, 2017:

I actually think it won me $8.00, Mel. Better than nothing I guess.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 10, 2017:


Fantasizing about letter carriers is not a question of right or wrong, it's just something that can't be helped. When I was younger I had to fight them off too. Some of the customers would come to the door in a semi-state of dishabille. Luckily I was too young and stupid to appreciate what they were up to. Now I'm older, wiser, and considerably uglier.

The face cover could just be a spit guard, to protect her from slobbering customers. Either that, or she could be one of those Syrians that Trump is trying to keep out. Anyhow, live the dream while you can because the good ones always move up into desk jobs.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 10, 2017:

Mel, you need to write a dear Abby about Mail carriers. Dear Melly is it wrong for a loving husband to fantasize over their mail lady?

What was that song about quarter to 3. Oh yes:

Believe it or not she wears a face cover from the sun. Even more seductive.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 10, 2017:

Jodah, I thought I had some good dog stories, but it turns out the life of an Australian postie is infinitely more dangerous.

Your story had added tremendously to this hub. I appreciate you dropping in. Was it a winning scratcher?

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on February 10, 2017:

I can vouch for this Mel. Just like people, no two dogs are the same. I actually have quite an affinity with dogs in general..shoot I have always owned a dog and currently have three of my own (non-biters of course.) However, long time ago as a mail delivery boy I was reaching to put mail in a letterbox and a small terrier type dog jumped three or four times its height to bite me on the arm. Although most people beware the large dog which can potentially inflict more harm, it is the little sneaky ones Ai had most trouble with. I once went to pay an invoice at a plumbers home only to be suddenly confronted with an angry blue healer cattle dog (they can be nasty.. Especially if kept in town). I literally flew over the ence but it managed to attach to my jeans and ripped the lower leg right off. I later found a "Beware of Dog" sign had disattached from the door so it couldn't be read. The plumber sent me a $5 scratch it ticket as compensation..generous guy. Great article. I do understand that at times a good kick is needed.

Mel Carriere (author) from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 10, 2017:

Eric, in the early 90s, I had a boss who was Vietnamese/Chinese. On the matter of mysteriously missing dogs in Asian/American neighborhoods, he told me "don't knock it until you try it."

I hope your blustery winter weather improves in the Sprung Valley. Thanks for checking in.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 10, 2017:

Buddy "Move it on Over" 'cuz I got plenty to say about that! There is a phrase that people sometimes get wrong. "A dog is man's best friend". Note that it says "a" dog. Sure as hell not every dog. Now over here Sprung Valley way, where our brutal temperature is down to 68 and up to 72 varying all day long. We have dawgs not dogs. We have just enough of certain - shall we say ethnicities, where dog meat is not frowned upon.

Bad unrestrained doggies just disappear. My Vietnamese wife is "mums the word" on such matters.

I would suggest adding this song to the mix from SD's favorite son:

My mail lady is meaner than a junk yard dawg but also sweet as the daisies in the early morning sun.

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