A postal worker from the US has proven that he is ‘Santa Paws’ after delivering more than 250 stockings to dogs on his mail round.
Scott Arnold, 66, has been providing personalised Christmas stockings for the dogs on his round for the past 25 years. It all began when he realised that he’d got into the habit of asking every dog on his round what they were hoping to get for Christmas. From there, it seems a natural step to become Santa Paws himself.
However, following the tragic death of his adult son, Jason, it looked as though 2020 would be the first year since the 1990s when Arnold would take a rest from his annual tradition.
Around the same time as losing his son, Arnold’s daughter’s Labrador Cash succumbed to cancer. Arnold told The Washington Post, “It’s been an exhausting year and the holidays are especially difficult”.
However, it was his late son’s love of dogs that inspired him to continue the tradition, “I decided that doing the stockings this year would be a good distraction from the sadness and would be a nice way to honour Jason and Cash,” said Arnold.
So how does one single letter carrier deliver to 250 dogs?
In November, Arnold got hold of more than 250 miniature Christmas stockings and personalised each one with the names of the dogs on his round. He then stuffed each stocking with dog treats, along with a few extras, such photos of his own dog, Milo, and of his grandsons. While the mutts enjoy the treats, their human companions can read Arnold’s Christmas newsletter, which begins:
“Another Pawliday season is upon us, though this one is quite different than any other. We will begin, as always, welcoming the new members of our ever-growing pack.”
He goes on to welcome all of the new dogs on his round, then mention those who have moved away, and pay tribute to those that have crossed the “Rainbow Bridge”.
Arnold finishes his letter by thanking the people on his route for their kindness during what has been a rough year.
The depth of feeling runs both ways. Resident Rahul Ravi told The Washington Post that his wife had been moved to tears by Arnold’s letter.
However, despite overcoming such emotional hardship for Christmas 2020, the future of the Santa Paws round could be coming to an end soon.
“As I get older, I hate the cold and working in the snow,” he said. “Will this year be the last? I don’t know. It’s a tough call. The people on my route are like family. And I guess it goes without saying – so are the dogs”.
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