YOU MIGHT SAY JEFF KRAMER ISN’T YOUR STEREOTYPICAL SORT OF MAIL CARRIER. THE USPS EMPLOYEE, SERVING BOULDER, COLORADO, RECENTLY WENT ABOVE AND BEYOND TO IMPROVE THE LIFE OF A 14-YEAR OLD DOG, NAMED TASHI, WHOM HE MET ON HIS MAIL ROUTE.
After noticing Tashi, old dog, was having trouble getting up and down the stairs of his family’s home, as he often did to greet him, Kramer stepped in to help.
He came by on his day off and built Tashi a dog ramp.
The Boulder DailyCamera recently caught up with Tashi, his family, and the mailman who changed everything for the better.
“Hopefully he’ll live a little longer. He’s still happy. That’s what we want. We want a happy animal,” said Kramer. “Yeah, a mailman who likes dogs. Go figure.”
When people hear about mailmen and dogs, most people think of them as natural enemies.
But Jeff Kramer the mailman and Tashi the black lab are not your typical dog and mailman duo. A few years ago, Kramer’s route took him past a house on Bluebell Avenue in Boulder for the first time and out came Tashi.
“As fast as he could — which was not very fast — he ran up to me tail wagging, first day I met him,” Kramer said. “He’s just a really friendly dog. And I am a dog person, and they can tell.”
A BOND WAS FORMED AND EVERY DAY ON HIS ROUTE, KRAMER MAKES SURE TO STOP AND SAY HI TO TASHI.
“He would just come by every day and pet him,” said Tashi’s owner, Karen Dimetrosky. “Tashi would hang outside and would always get so excited when Jeff came. He would always try to pull me towards the mail truck.”
But at 14 years old, earlier this year Tashi became unable to walk up and down the steps of the porch.
“We were literally carrying him up and down the stairs,” Dimetrosky said. “And he weighs about 70 pounds.”
So Kramer went from mailman to handyman a few months ago and built a ramp for that now allows Tashi to go in and out of the house at his own leisure.
“It’s incredible,” Dimetrosky said. “I can’t imagine not having the ramp now. It’s the only way he gets in and out.”
Kramer actually had built the ramp for his own elderly dog, Odie. But since Odie passed away five years ago, the ramp has just been sitting in Kramer’s backyard. So when Kramer saw Tashi struggling with the porch stairs, he brought over all of the lumber from his dog’s ramp.
“I JUST NOTICED THEY NEEDED IT,” KRAMER SAID. “I DIDN’T NEED IT ANYMORE AND I HATE THROWING THINGS AWAY.”
But even after Kramer dropped off the wood, the material sat unassembled for months.
“We’re not very handy,” Dimetrosky said. “I’m more handy than my husband, but I didn’t know how to put that together.”
So without any prompting, Kramer came over on one of his days off and did it for them.
“He’s just amazing,” Dimetrosky said. “We’ve had the ramp for a few months and he’s saved us.”
Of course, Kramer and Tashi are still buds. In fact, Kramer recently attended Tashi’s 14th birthday party.
“It’s amazing,” Dimetrosky said of their bond. “Jeff will come knock on the door and Tashi will get up off his bed and walk out to greet him.”
Kramer said, contrary to popular belief, most of the dogs on his route are friendly.
“I’ve got about 30 or 40 that enthusiastically greet me,” Kramer said. “Then I’ve got three or four that enthusiastically want to eat me.”
But Kramer said Tashi is one of his favorites.
“HE’S JUST SO HAPPY WITH LIFE,” KRAMER SAID.
Dimetrosky knows that at 14 years old, Tashi doesn’t have much longer left. So she is especially grateful that the ramp Kramer built has given Tashi a measure of freedom, even at his age.
“It’s a blessing,” she said. “Every day is a gift.”