In a tribute to America's favorite pets, the U.S. Postal Service released Forever stamps featuring photographs of 20 different domestic animals - two dogs, two cats, two birds, two fish, four reptiles, five rodents, a crustacean, a rabbit and a horse.
"More than half of all U.S. homes have at least one pet, and that number increases every year. The most common are cats and dogs, but all types of pets provide love, happiness and companionship for their owners," said Postal Service Chief Marketing and Sales Officer James Cochrane. "The bonds we create with animals improve our physical and emotional well-being and our pets truly become members of the family."
The stamps feature 20 existing photographs of different animals taken against white backgrounds by Eric Issele.
PHOTO SPECIAL TO THE CITIZEN
New Forever stamps.
Each photograph represents animals that are loved: puppies, betta fish, iguanas, hamsters, goldfish, parrots, guinea pigs, tortoises, rabbits, kittens, corn snakes, mice, hermit crabs, chinchillas, gerbils, dogs, parakeets, horses, cats and geckos.
Inspired by her lifelong love of animals, art director Derry Noyes designed the stamps.
Though cats and dogs are the more traditional choice, pets come in all shapes and sizes.
Small mammals, like hamsters, gerbils and mice, are popular choices for many people, especially those with limited space that might not accommodate larger animals.
Slightly larger mammals, like rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas, have also become much more prevalent in American homes, particularly for families with older children.
Previous stamps featuring animals include: Adopt a Shelter Pet, 2009; Spay and Neuter, 2002; Bright Eyes, 1998; American Dogs, 1984; American Cats, 1988; Puppy and Kitten, 1982; and Seeing For Me, 1979.
Phil Wiebold is a spokesman for U.S. Postal Service.