It was a little act of kindness that prompted Inquirer subscriber Joanne Cornacchia to write a letter to the editor.
For 14 years, no matter the weather, her Labrador retriever, Josie, would run down the driveway of her Media, Delaware County, home, retrieve the newspaper, return to the house, and drop it on the kitchen floor. Her reward was a cookie.
“She’s always been getting the paper, since she was a wee pup,” said Cornacchia, 63, who works in the pharmaceutical industry.
Then arthritis began to slow old Josie down. So, Cornacchia would make the trek down the driveway herself, pick up the paper, and toss it on the lawn closer to the house so Josie could finish the job.
This is where Inquirer home delivery driver Charles Freeman comes in.
Sometime over the summer, Freeman saw Josie waiting on the lawn when he drove up to Cornacchia’s home.
“Throw the paper. She’s waiting for you,” Cornacchia recalls yelling to Freeman.
With a flick of the wrist, Freeman sent the paper flying up near the waiting pup.
“Josie was so happy, she ran over, picked up the paper, tail wagging,” said Cornacchia.
Every day since, Freeman has tossed the paper closer to the house, she said.
“I enjoy doing it,” said Freeman, 69, a retired social worker who back in the day was a paperboy in West Oak Lane, where he still lives. “I try to do what makes it easier” — for pets and owners — “especially on rainy days.”
Freeman is also a dog lover. He has a 5-year-old rescued Australian terrier named Scooter, who loves belly rubs.
“When I see customers walking dogs, I always take time to greet them and speak to them,” Freeman said.
He’s not the only delivery driver who shares special bonds with dogs, if social media is any indicator. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are full of accounts devoted to posts of sweet encounters that UPS, FedEx, and U.S. Postal Service drivers have with their customers’ canines.
The photos, of course, are adorable. Here are a few.
Dogs always seem to give an ecstatic greeting to their family and friends, no matter how long the separation has been. But it takes a special kind of UPS driver to sit on the wet ground to be able to accept a doggie hug.
A “wet sidewalk butt = worth it for puppy kisses,” posted Desiree Pickett.
In dog circles, the signature UPS delivery vehicles are known as “the treat trucks” because so many of the company’s dog-friendly drivers keep Milk Bones or other snacks on hand for their favorite canines.
Dogs are not the only ones who can’t wait for the trucks. Cats, llamas, deer, and even chickens will show up for drivers.
“Barbosa always jumps in looking to go for a ride when I pull up to his family’s business. Beware of pitty’s they said ... Freehold, N.J.”
Maybe these Labs are vegetarians.
The post from a Belmar, N.J., fan says it all.