One of the finest aspects of Mike McEuen’s profession is the animals he meets on his travels.
While McEuen, a mail carrier in McKinleyville, California, adores all of them, one in particular, Bijou, stands out from the crowd.
“There are a few dogs on my routes that I particularly like seeing, as well as a couple who seem to recognize the sound of my truck’s door sliding open.” “If I can make it work (still have to be done on time!) I try to at least say ‘hi’ and offer them some short love before moving on,” McEuen told The Dodo. “However, Bijou is the only cat I have on my routes who appears to visit every time I am there.”
McEuen first met Bijou four years ago as he embarked on a new path.
Though the ancient cat with one milky eye and a crooked half-tail appeared tough, she was known as the ultimate charmer among other postal carriers.
CREDIT: MIKE MCEUEN
“When I initially saw her, my first impression was that she was a very elderly, gentle kitten who appeared to have seen it all.” “It’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s as wonderful as it gets,” McEuen remarked. “I informed the route’s regular carrier about it, and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s Bijou.’” ‘She’s the greatest!’”
McEuen works five separate routes as a replacement carrier, which means he only sees Bijou once a week. When she hears his vehicle drive up to her house, the small cat always makes a point of going out and seeing her friend.
“She would wander out to the mailbox when she heard me getting out of the truck for the first several years,” McEuen explained. “She is always there once I have the mail on top of the boxes.”
Bijou has never been bashful, and even in the early days of their acquaintance, she would rub her hands against McEuen’s feet until he finished delivering.
The old cat has recently been more daring, getting inside McEuen’s truck while he is preoccupied.
“Toward the end of last year, she became more experimental with my truck,” McEuen remarked. “It’s only a couple feet from where I’m delivering, so she wanders that way when she sees I’m working and not stooping down to pat her.”
“She started crawling in and wandering around on the door after a couple months of sniffing around the door,” McEuen continued. “That quickly turned into her getting all comfortable on the seat. She simply waits till I am done with the mail.”
The two have grown close over time, so much so that Bijou would not allow McEuen leave without giving her some quality attention – even if it means taking control of his vehicle.
“I quickly realized that I couldn’t just yank her out of the truck.” “She’d stand her ground and softly resist until I picked her up and gave her a couple pets and squeezes,” McEuen explained. “Once that’s taken care of, she’ll be glad to go back to her house till I see her again.”
While Bijou’s visits may appear to be demanding, they always brighten McEuen’s workday.
“Most cats appear to be fine doing their own thing and staying to themselves,” McEuen observed. “I like to assume Bijou anticipates the arrival of the mailmen as much as we look forward to being greeted by her!”
McEuen and Bijou are just two examples of the unique bonds that postal carriers may form with animals, and McEuen hopes his visits brighten their days as much as they do his.
“I like to believe the animals appreciate someone popping in and saying hello during the day when their family members are at work or school,” McEuen explained. “[It] breaks up the monotony of their day and provides them with some human connection on what may be a lonely afternoon.”