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Driving a delivery truck can be a lonely gig. But according to UPS driver Sean McCarren of Falling Waters, West Virginia, many drivers find no shortage of company in the four-legged friends they meet along the way.
McCarren, 41, explained that it's common for delivery drivers to keep boxes of dog treats on hand. "I know people who buy a couple of boxes a week," McCarren told TODAY. "As soon as you deliver to a stop, especially in rural areas, (the dogs) start popping up in your truck."
He continued, "They become a part of your family, kinda. They’re expecting you. The worst is when you run out of treats ... next time, they get a double treat!"
After noticing a pile-up of dog pictures on his phone, McCarren started a Facebook page called UPS Dogs in 2013 to share the highlights. Four years later, the page has over 500,000 followers and contributors all over the world, some of whom have become McCarren's real-life friends.
"At first I started adding a couple of local drivers, then it starts to spread," McCarren recalled. "Slowly it trickles out. Some lady from Spain a few years ago liked the page — people from London, Germany. It's really catching fire."
"I have people bombarding me with dogs right now," he added. (We'd argue that there are worse problems to have!)
While many posts are pure (literal) fluff, others tell more emotional stories. One driver, Katie Neuhauser, adopted a pit bull named Leo after his owner passed away.
Drivers have also used the group to seek support in times of loss. "There's sadness, when you lose dogs on the route," McCarren explained. "Last year I lost a dog, Belle ... She would come out and greet me and expect a treat, and then she died suddenly last year. You see (these dogs) every day. It's tough on the families, too."
The page has also run posts featuring cats, deer, donkeys and pigs. But dogs will always be McCarren's first love.
"There’s nothing you can say negative about dogs," he said. "Dogs aren't just man's best friend, they're people’s best friend. Everybody loves dogs."
And he's not the only one who feels that way. "I've gotten what feels like a billion messages saying, 'This is the best page ever!'" McCarren shared. "Not just, 'Hey, can you post my dog,' but outpours of, 'Thank you, this is great' ... It's cool to see how it just brought everybody together."