Bernard McGrath, 44, brought the post to the family home of his future wife and, in a different estate on the same round in Skerries, he was given the stamp of approval by a dog who stalked him until he was forced to take him home. Bernard says he first got chatting to his wife Gráinne, 33, because she recognised him as being her family postman.
“I would not have been known in Skerries except for being the postman. I was in the pub one evening and we got chatting because she recognised me from delivering the mail to her mother’s house. We are married now and have a wonderful son Blake.”
He met Gráinne in 2005 and a year later Cupid struck again but this time he had caught the attention of Rufus.
Rufus, now 10 years old is a golden retriever and his original owner was also on Bernard’s route in Skerries. However, it soon became clear Rufus actually wanted to live with her postman and not her. “Rufus would lie in the porch of his original owner Maria Hayes. His paw was in a cast because he had been hit by a car. I would pet him every day and then when the cast came off, that was it, he began to come with me on the rest of the route.”
At the time, Bernard was living in his original family home: “Rufus followed me home one day and the next day he was waiting for me outside the door. It was about a mile from where he lived.”
Maria, who had owned him since he was a pup, found she could not control him when the postman was on his rounds. Rufus would howl and run around the back garden until he was let out to go with Bernard.
“He would shake all over trying to get out to find me. He would run around the Kelly’s Bay estate looking for me. I was love-bombed,” Bernard laughed.
“Eventually Maria said to me, ‘It looks like he really wants you and I know he will be going to a nice home.’ He still comes with me on my rounds every day.”
During school holidays Rufus lies on the grass while the children rub him and then he runs on ahead of Bernard but keeps looking back until he sees him catching up.
There is no chance of Bernard ever getting on the wrong side of another dog on his round either because, “Rufus knows my route and if he hears any commotion while he is ahead of me, he runs back to me.”