This New Orleans UPS Driver Befriends All the Good Dogs on His Route
Jason Hardesty is doing what he can to reverse the dog-vs.-mailman stigma, one cute pic at a time.
While dog owners love their pups, delivery drivers typically don't share the same feeling. In fact, mail carriers famously aren't fans of dogs, and the feeling is apparently entirely mutual as dogs have been known to bite more than their fair share of mail carriers (6,244 of them reported in 2017 alone, to be precise). One UPS driver in New Orleans is doing his part to repair the fraught relationship between dogs and delivery drivers, one Instagram post at a time.
Jason Hardesty has worked as a UPS driver for seven years, and he had gotten to know all the pups on his route. When he was assigned to a new neighborhood, though, he realized he had to get to know a whole new set of dogs—and he wanted to make a few new friends. "My old route, which was more families, the dogs did not like you," he said in an interview with Buzzfeed News in 2019. "They moved me to a different area of town with more people my age, more single people, and the dogs were a lot friendlier."
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The dogs were so friendly on his new route in the Marigny and Bywater that when he met a particularly cute one, he asked the owner if he could snap a selfie with the pup. The owner agreed, Hardesty snapped a puppy portrait, and a brilliant idea was born. He started to take photos with dogs he encountered on his route, sharing them on Instagram and using the hashtag #pupsofjay so anyone needing a mood boost can browse through his puppy portraits on Instagram. That includes novelist Jami Attenberg whose Puggle Sid has been getting to know Hardesty on his rounds. She tweeted about Hardesty's delightful hobby, sharing the joy of a UPS man snapping grinning photos with happy pups, and the internet was thrilled to have a new favorite account to follow on social media.
While meeting and greeting puppies is a delightful part of his day, Hardesty still takes his job seriously. "I discipline myself to only take photos on Friday nights," he told Today. It's a fun way to kick off the weekend—and a way to make sure that his puppy pictures don't completely overrun his Instagram account. Those boundaries mean that Hardesty's dog photo services are in high demand. According to NOLA.com, Hardesty already had a waiting list going.
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