It’s almost Christmas and Mark Hayes the postie is busy! He says the Christmas mail is not what it used to be but the parcels from the last minute online shopping keep him fit. Mark knows dogs and postie bikes don’t mix, he’s had a few funny encounters during his three years as a postie. Mark lives with his wife Merilyn, their three daughters, two dogs and a cat. Find out who’s the boss?

Who’s the Boss? Tell us about your pets?

Dogs and postie bikes don't mix

Mark Hayes with his cat Milo.

Mark: I have two dogs, Cooper and Chester and our cat Milo. Both dogs are mini Foxy with a quarter Jack Russell. They were born in mid-2010. We got them from a responsible breeder on the way to Windsor. My family loves them. Very engaging. We decided to buy these two to lift our lives. My wife and I were going through some difficulties at the time and needed some joy, fun and a distraction.  We chose mini Foxys because of their placid nature. We did a little research and this breed seemed the best fit for our family. Cooper is the more aggressive and neurotic one. Chester is relaxed, happy to leave the protecting to Cooper.

I had cats growing up. We inherited Milo from some friends from Gulargambone (country NSW) in 2006. She is a lovely natured cat. Milo prefers to avoid the dogs and finds refuge on the beds and couches in‎ the house. She occasionally will take a swipe at Chester for getting too close, but with Cooper, there is no love lost at all, it is mutual hate… avoidance.

Who’s the Boss? In your busy household, how do your pets get your attention? Who really is the boss?

Mark: Cooper is the ‘Boss of the Animals’. He dominates Chester and Milo. But when it comes to the big boss it’s me. They cower if in trouble and always look for attention‎ either with belly rubs, walks or dog treats. When I’m working in the study they will come and lay on the carpet while I tap away on the computer.

Chester only cares for one thing…FOOD. Both dogs cope with instruction well, eg ‘bed’, ‘toilet’. They both go ballistic if you mention the word ‘walkies’, ‎which of course sets off all the dogs in our street.

Sometimes I feel like a bad smell, they often follow me around.

Who’s the Boss? Have you had any memorable encounters with the dogs and cats in the suburbs where you deliver mail?

Mark: I have had some funny encounters with dogs and one lovely cat named ‘Lek’ in Penshurst St, who comes out most days for a stroke and a chat.  I will always try and win dogs over. I much prefer a good licking than a bite. I have been lucky not to have been bitten as yet.

Who’s the Boss? What do you do when you come across an overexcited doggie when delivering the mail?

Mark: I will always try and talk to an approaching dog‎ and let them smell me, obviously having a fence between us is highly regarded by oneself.  Australia Post regularly discusses how to deal with dogs in their own environment in our team briefings. Management put a lot of emphasis on the safety of its people, but we also need the community’s help to keep their dogs behind fences. Dogs and postie bikes don’t mix!