United States Dogs at Work Issue Features Service Animals

The United States Postal Service honored the faithful dogs that work with and for their human friends with a set of four 65-cent stamps. They were issued on January 20, 2012 in Merrifield, Virginia. These stamps pay the rate for first-class mail weighing more than one ounce and up to and including two ounces. The stamps, painted by John M. Thompson and designed by Howard E. Paine include a seeing-eye guide dog, a therapy dog, a tracking dog, and a search and rescue dog.

Guide dogs date back to World War I. To help veterans who lost their sight in the war, a school in Potsdam Germany started training German Shepherds as guides. Dorothy Harrison Eustis, a wealthy American woman interested in training dogs, visited the school and was impressed. She wrote an article about the school that was published in the Saturday Evening Post. When Morris Frank, a young blind man from Nashville, Tennessee heard about the article, he asked her to train a dog for him.

He joined her in Switzerland for the training. His dog was Buddy, a female German Shepherd and together they became the first American guide-dog team. With $10,000 in seed money from Ms. Eustis, Frank opened a dog guide school in Nashville, the first in the United States. Today there are over 10,000 guide dogs in the United States and Canada helping sight-impaired people to live normal, productive lives.

There are many jobs for tracking dogs. Basically a tracking dog is trained to use his excellent sense of smell to locate people, drugs, explosives and other items. Dogs that find missing people, are called search and rescue dogs (SAR). Because of their efforts many people who would not have survived a dangerous situation are alive and well. Once hope of finding a missing person alive fades, cadaver dogs are brought in. These dogs are trained to find decomposing bodies.

Security personnel use detection dogs to sniff baggage at airports and other sensitive places in order to locate explosives or other illicit substances. After a fire in which arson is suspected, arson dogs are brought in. They are trained to find accelerants used to set fires and then to sit on the odor. This way they don't destroy or disturb evidence.

Dogs who are gentle, friendly and at ease when handled by strangers may get a job as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs are used in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools - anywhere there are people who can benefit from the comfort and joy of close contact with a friendly dog. A new twist on this concept is Tail Waggin' Tutors. These dogs listen as children read aloud to them. Children who are poor readers and embarrassed to read aloud in front of classmates are not self-conscious in front of the dogs.

Some high-stress schools are also using therapy dogs to ease student stress. The dogs are found in counseling centers, pet-friendly dorms, walking around the campus, and in libraries. At Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School you can even check out a therapy dog the way you check out a book from the library.

Other Articles

Baseball Heroes Still Competing
The 2012 United States Major League Baseball All-Stars series was one of the most anticipated stamp issues in recent memory. More than 2-million stamps were purchased during a special pre-order competition setting a new record.

Owls of Taiwan Stamp Issue of 2012
Released June 6, 2012 this attractive four stamp set features native Taiwan owls.

Working Horses of France
Horses have been a part of the French landscape since prehistoric times when wild horses were depicted on the famous cave paintings at Niaux. La Poste, the French Postal Authority, issued a set of 12 stamps featuring the regional working horses of France in a collectible booklet on April 5, 2013. The attractive stamps are sure to be sought after by horse enthusiasts and topical collectors alike.

French Art Stamp Features American Painter Edward Hopper
Famous Edward Hopper painting Morning Sun is part of La Poste's long running Musee Imaginaire art stamp series.

Norway Celebrates 100 Years of Aviation
To mark the occasion of the centennial of Norwegian aviation, Norway Post issued a three stamp set on May 18, 2012. The stamps picture various aircraft that have figured in the country's aviation history.

Japanese Stamps Feature Peter Rabbit and Other Beatrix Potter Characters
On March 31, 2011 Japan Post issued two sheets of stamps to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Japanese-language publication of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The twenty stamps making up the series depict some of Beatrix Potter's most memorable and beloved scenes and characters.

Old Ironsides Commemorates War of 1812 Centennial
The frigate USS Constitution, popularly known as Old Ironsides, is the subject of this first class stamp commemorating the centennial of the War of 1812. One of six ships designed by naval architect Joshua Humphries, Old Ironsides is oldest commissioned warship still afloat.

Louis Braille Featured on Belarus Stamp
Issued on January 4, 2009, this stamp issue from the Republic of Belarus celebrates Louis Braille. Having lost his sight at the age of 3, Braille went on to invent a writing system based on raised dots that brought reading to blind and vision-impaired people around the world.

Danny Thomas Entertainer and Humanitarian
Danny Thomas, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2012, was the beloved star of The Danny Thomas Show (Make Room for Daddy) television situation comdey and known for his roles in The Jazz Singer, and I'll See You In My Dreams. This First Class stamp was issued by the United States Post Office in his honor.

O.Henry (the pen name of William S. Porter) wrote over 300 stories. The Gift of the Magi and The Ransom of Red Chief are two of his most famous. On September 11, 2012 the United States Post Office issued a stamp in celebration of the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Understanding Stamp Values
The subject of stamp valuation is a deceptively complex one. While at first glance, determining the value of a stamp might appear to be a simple matter of turning to one of the many available reference catalogues, in fact the stamp catalogue is just the beginning of the process. This overview presents some of the major topics in stamp valuation, setting you on course to making confident purchases and understanding the ultimate worth of your collection.