Red Deer postal worker Melissa Bustamante didn’t see the dog coming before it rounded a bush and sank its teeth into her leg.
“I was bitten in the thigh and it was very painful,” recalled Bustamante. She had been delivering the mail in Highland Green a few years ago when this aggressive pet viscerally reminded her of one of the most dangerous aspects of her job.
“Dogs are something you encounter on a daily basis,” she said.
Most of the time, they can be heard barking from inside a house or yard. But sometimes a loose latch or unlocked door allows for an uncomfortable encounter.
Before she was bitten, Bustamante had noticed that a man was working on his front lawn while she headed up the front walkway of the house next door.
The dog that seemingly appeared out of nowhere belonged to that yard worker — who was extremely apologetic about the behaviour of his mixed-breed pet, she recalled.
While Bustamante understands that all dogs are territorial and act according to their instincts, she still had to stop at a medical clinic on her way home for a tetanus shot.
“He broke the skin, although I didn’t need stitches…”
Canada Post has launched a campaign to remind dog owners that their “friendly” pets might not react too jovially to a strange postal worker, so should be restrained.
If dogs are left to run loose in a fenced front yard, Bustamante said postal workers would appreciate it if mailboxes or receptacles for packages are moved to the front edge of the property, in front of the fence.
“As much as we love our furry friends, they are protective of their home and their family. It’s impossible for delivery agents to know how any dog will react when they approach your home and deliver the mail,” said Nicole Lecompte, media relations officer for Canada Post.
Canada Post urges dog owners to help with the safe delivery of mail and parcels by keeping their pets secure and at a safe distance from the path to the mailbox.
Bustamante said she still loves dogs, and has one of her own. But her encounters with strange canines has lessened since she became a sorting supervisor at the plant.