Owney was a dog, now preserved and displayed in the Smithsonian, who put in a full life as mascot and special inspector for the U.S. Post Office. He started his career in Albany, rode all over the country with the mails until he came to Tacoma, and then was sent overseas to Japan and China as United States representative to the Universal Postal Union. Olney tells his story with a good many shaggy embellishments to Gib Whartoa, a boy who managed to get locked into the Smithsonian overnight. Owney speaks in the gruff, folksy fashion so frequently attributed to talking dogs, but Gib makes the perfect spellbound audience (Owney said ""I didn't know it at the time, but I was in the Albany Post Office."" ""'Wowie ow,' breathed Gib. ""O.) Readers may be gurgling themselves when Owney describes his impressions of the East (for instance, ""the Japanese are colored people, sort of pale-mustard like the kind you get with hot dogs at the ball game. But very polite. They tend to hiss a bit when they talk like a leaky steam pipe or a friendly snake."") The book does provide some indications of the overall position of the Postal Service in the late nineteenth century--a standard breed of information in this mongrel book.