See Spot Run

"See Spot Run"
Warner Bros.
Rated PG
Release Date: March 2

In the film "See Spot Run," postman Gordon Smith (played by David Arquette) wages the seemingly eternal battle between mailmen and dogs. Gordon must navigate treacherous Bleeker Street (known to postal employees as the dreaded "Dog Alley"), armed with his wits and an array of mechanical devices to deliver the mail amid barking and chasing dogs. Gordon overcomes his four-footed adversaries to deliver the mail, but often pays the price. Gordon's encounters leaves him with something of a negative attitude towards dogs in general.

The plot centers on a star FBI dog named Agent Eleven, who is on the run from the Mafia. Agent Eleven has an uncanny ability to foil the plans of a mobster kingpin named Sonny. Infuriated by Agent Eleven's drug-detecting skills, Sonny puts a contract out on the dog's life. Agent Eleven is put into the Witness Protection Program, but he runs away.

Agent Eleven eludes the mobsters by hiding in Gordon's mail truck. There, he is discovered and quickly adopted by James (Angus Jones), the young son of Gordon's beautiful neighbor. James immediately dubs the dog "Spot" and the two hit it off. Gordon wishes Spot would just go away because he has met his match. He doesn't realize he's dealing with an FBI super dog.

Meanwhile, Spot's human FBI partner, an agent named Murdoch (Michael Clark Duncan), and the mobsters desperately search for the dog. The mobsters eventually catch up with Spot, and they realize they too have met their match. In the meantime, Gordon, James and Spot have bonded together.

The challenge originally faced by Gordon is one that has decreased over the years. In 1983, more than 7,000 mail carriers reported attacks while attempting to deliver the mail. In 1999, carriers reported 2,725 attacks.

Nevertheless, it is a situation the U.S. Postal Service takes very seriously. Mail carriers routinely carry ultrasound devices or even mace to ward off attacks, and some have advocated stun guns. The Postal Service rated the top ten "dog bite" cities where its workers have been attacked. In 1999, Houston led, with 58 attacks. Los Angeles came in second with 38.

The problem isn't limited to postal workers. Delivery people in general seem to incur the most fearsome barks and tend be attacked more than other people. You can learn why, and what you can do about it, by reading the article How to Make Friends with the Postman.