The newly released Dogs at Work stamps are sure to be a favorite with animal lovers everywhere. For thousands of years, dogs and humans have shared a special bond. And from the beginning, dogs have been more than just companions and friends—they’ve been vital partners, working side by side with people. While the earliest dogs helped human hunters bring home prey, today’s pooches excel at a variety of jobs, from herding sheep to assisting deaf people to starring in movies.
Some 10,000 people in the U.S. and Canada rely on dogs to see the world for them. While the idea of using dogs to guide people who are blind is centuries old, it wasn’t until 1916 that the first organized school for guide dogs was established in Germany. The first canine graduates went on to aid veterans blinded in World War I, and the concept spread around the globe. Guide dogs navigate around obstacles, alert their handlers to curbs and stairs, and even learn to disobey any command that would put their handlers in danger. Along the way, they enrich and empower countless lives. Typical guide dog breeds include Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and German shepherds.
Sometimes the best medicine can come in the form of a furry friend. Therapy dogs, chosen for their friendly dispositions, bring comfort and joy to disaster victims, abused children, the elderly, and the ill. Frequent visitors to nursing homes and hospitals, these dogs seem to improve the health and morale of patients just by lending a paw or offering a head to be scratched. Some therapy dogs even make house calls, visiting elderly people who are homebound. An affectionate dog of any breed can become a therapy dog, and there aren’t many requirements—just knowing simple commands and being well behaved around all kinds of people.
Tracking is just one of the jobs that war dogs are trained for. Loyal canines have fought at the side of U.S. soldiers for more than a century as scouts and sentries. Today, military dogs excel at sniffing out explosive devices. They also protect their handlers at all times. Besides serving as war dogs, tracking dogs work with police and security personnel. They can be trained to detect drugs, guns, or explosives and to track people. Several different breeds are often chosen as tracking and sniffing dogs. While airport beagles commonly detect contraband fruit arriving from overseas, German shepherds, Dutch shepherds and Belgian Malinois are preferred by police departments and the military.
When racing against the clock, a search and rescue team’s greatest asset can be a well-trained canine. A dog’s superb sense of smell can speed up a search effort, increasing the odds of survival for lost people and disaster victims. Search and rescue dogs can locate children lost in the woods, sniff out survivors of an earthquake, and even dig out people buried in an avalanche. Depending on their training, dogs can track human scents in the air or on the ground. Many different breeds make excellent search and rescue dogs, including bloodhounds, border collies, German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, and golden retrievers.
Artist John M. Thompson created original paintings for each stamp in acrylics, based on photographs that he composed. The guide dog depicted is a black Labrador retriever, the tracking dog is a yellow Labrador retriever, the therapy dog is a Welsh springer spaniel, and the search and rescue dog is a German shepherd. Art director Howard E. Paine designed the stamps.
The Dogs At Work stamps are being issued in self-adhesive sheets of 20 at the 65-cent rate, or $13.00 per sheet. You can also purchase them in blocks of 4 ($2.60) or 10 ($6.50) stamps. Sets of four First Day Covers are also available.
These stamps are designed for heavier single-piece First-Class Mail weighing more than one ounce and up to and including two ounces.