Puppy love: How the friendship between a suburban postal carrier and a Chihuahua became a social media sensation

About 10:30 a.m., Monday through Saturday, a charmer named Frannie — dressed to the nines in outfits supplied by her 730,000 social media followers — waits impatiently by the door of the Hoffman Estates home she shares with Lisa and Dwayne Laskey for postal carrier Dan Larsen to pull up in his mail truck.

  Monday through Saturday, Frannie Joy Laskey waits impatiently at her front door for Hoffman Estates postal carrier Dan Larsen to arrive. Brian Hill/

When he arrives, Lisa Laskey cracks open the door and Frannie sprints toward Larsen. He scoops up the long-haired Chihuahua, who proceeds to shower the 40-year U.S. Postal Service veteran with kisses, as she has done since Laskey introduced them about 2½ years ago.

The pooch and the postal carrier met shortly after Laskey and her husband adopted the purebred. After losing their beloved Chihuahuas within six months of each other — 15-year-old Rockee in October 2020 and 16-year-old Sophie in April 2021 — the couple intended to adopt a shelter dog on Sept. 27, 2021. They drove 90 minutes to the shelter where COVID-19 restrictions prevented them from entering. Undeterred, they visited a nearby dog boutique in Tinley Park where they met the 12-week old pup.

The only Chihuahua, Frannie had been there three weeks and was an employee favorite, said Laskey, who was surprised when the pup retrieved a ball for her, which she says is atypical from a dog that young.

“She focused on me right away,” said Laskey, who recalls thinking, “OK, this is my dog.”

Although they considered adopting, they left without her to think it over. Ten minutes from home after an 80-minute car ride, they turned around and headed back to the boutique.

“We want her,” Laskey told the employees. “I was bawling. I was so happy she was going to be ours.”

  Dog lover Lisa Laskey knew from the moment they met on Sept. 27, 2021, that Frannie belonged with her and her husband. Brian Hill/

Not long after, Laskey introduced their new family member, named after “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon’s daughter, to fellow dog-lover Larsen, who says he gets along with all the canines on his route.

“I handed him Frannie and she went nuts,” Laskey recalls. “She kissed him and he laughed.”

  More than 700,000 self-described Frannie Nation members follow Frannie Joy, the long-haired Chihuahua, and her best friend Postman Dan on social media, where videos of them have received hundreds of millions of hits, according to Frannie’s owner Lisa Laskey. Brian Hill/

A few days later, Laskey captured their meeting on her cellphone. She asked Larsen if she could share the video online as a way of lifting the spirits of people struggling during the pandemic.

“This is going to make other people feel better,” said Laskey, who had struggled herself.

Larsen agreed and Laskey posted their first video on Tik-Tok on Oct. 8, 2021. A few days later, it hit 1 million views, said Laskey, adding there’s no rhyme or reason for the videos’ popularity other than a cute little dog meeting the postal carrier.

  Lisa Laskey’s videos of her Chihuahua Frannie’s friendship with Hoffman Estates postal carrier Dan Larsen have received hundreds of millions of hits on social media platforms Tik-Tok, Instagram and Facebook. Brian Hill/

“People like seeing a dog with a mail carrier,” she said of the self-described Frannie Nation members who tell her “they can feel the love coming right through the camera.”

  Chihuahua charmer Frannie Joy Laskey basks in the affection she receives from her favorite Hoffman Estates postal carrier, Dan Larsen. Brian Hill/

“I had no idea how much an impact this relationship would have on people. I sob my way through the comments,” she added.

Today, the relationship between pup and postal worker is a social media phenomenon. Their videos have received hundreds of millions views from every state and around the globe — from Canada to the United Kingdom and Europe, to South America, Australia, Asia and Africa.

The number of views — more than 16 million for one posting — astounds Larsen, who is not on social media and realized their popularity only after a friend called to tell him he watched a video of him with Frannie.

“This girl is the sweetest,” he said of Frannie. “I can’t believe the number of views and that it’s been going on as long as it has.”

Friendly by nature, Frannie likes meeting new people. But not everyone receives the kisses she bestows on Larsen.

“The poor guy has to put up with it every day,” laughed Laskey.

Once when Larsen was on vacation, Frannie ran to the mail truck, noticed it wasn’t Postman Dan inside, and ran away. Another time, Laskey and Frannie were out walking when Frannie spotted a mail truck she thought was Larsen’s. She ran to it and jumped onto the step.

“I know Frannie. This is Dan’s Frannie,” the postal carrier said.

Laskey says when Frannie realized it wasn’t Larsen, she jumped off the truck.

“I’m fortunate to have fantastic people on my route,” said Larsen, recipient of Million Mile Award recognizing postal carriers who’ve driven a million miles without an accident. “Honestly, this isn’t work. I enjoy this.”

Frannie isn’t Larsen’s only fan, according to Laskey.

“The whole community loves this guy,” she said. “There’s something about Dan that draws our community to him.”

  Every day, about 10:30 a.m. Frannie the longhair Chihuahua rushes from her Hoffman Estates home to greet her favorite postal carrier, Dan Larsen. Brian Hill/

Over the last few years, she and her husband became friends with Dan and his wife, Janet. Laskey describes Larsen as a “big brother” and Janet as a “sister from another mister.”

“We’re so lucky Frannie introduced all of us,” she said.

As for Larsen, the Bartlett resident “has no idea how much people love him,” Laskey said, referring to the outpouring of affection from residents and business owners who on Mailman Appreciation Day (Feb. 4) displayed signs in their windows thanking him for his efforts.

Last December, at Laskey’s request, 1,500 Frannie Nation members from every state and several countries sent Christmas cards to Larsen.

“Fifteen hundred people took the time to write a card and buy a stamp,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief.

That’s not all. In response to Frannie Nation queries about “merch,” the Laskeys created T-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and a calendar featuring the pals.

Larsen was skeptical, remarking “you’re never going to sell a thing with my face on it,” said Laskey.

He was wrong. Sales from #FranDanfurever and #FrannieLife merchandise totaled more than $11,000, which the couples donated to the Almost Home Foundation, a Schaumburg rescue organization working to ensure that all companion animals have a life as joyful as Frannie’s.

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