Fernando Barboza is a postal worker who enjoyed every single day of his job. As a mailman, he not only gets to deliver people’s letters and packages, he also gets to meet his favorite creatures in the world in all their shapes and sizes – dogs.
But there was one dog in particular who left a mark in him. It is a German shepherd named Gretchen, who was adopted by the Cimino family as a rescue in 2013. Back then, her new family sensed that she didn’t live an easy life before being rescued.
“She was pretty mistrustful of all people,” Chris Cimino told The Dodo. “I don’t know her entire backstory, but judging from her initial reactions, it wasn’t a good story.”
After some time, Gretchen eventually came to adore her loving family, though she remained wary of every stranger. But all that changed when she met Fernando.
Fernando is a huge dog lover, and it clearly shows. Since he became a mailman five years ago, he’s come to know every dog in his route by their name. Not only that, but he also likes filling their bellies with snacks. He said:
“I have a bag of treats in my mail truck. When I bring a package to somebody’s door, and there’s a dog there, I give them a treat. Like, if I’m bringing something for the owner, I might as well bring something to the dogs, too, since they’re part of the family.”
It was through this sweet initiative that he got to know Gretchen. And the dog who was once aloof became his buddy in no time. Fernando said:
“When I first met her, I was kind of worried. She was a little standoffish at first, but then I started to talk to her and pet her and bring her treats.”
Soon after, his owners were surprised to see that Gretchen was looking forward to visits from their mailman.
“It started off slow, she is pretty mistrustful of everybody. But he was pretty persistent … he would call her name and she started looking forward to it. Even when he didn’t have any packages to deliver to the door he would drive by and say, ‘Hey Gretchen’.
She started looking forward to him coming by. He would deliver a package to the old man across the street and she would get really jealous.”, Chris said of the pair’s relationship.
With that, Gretchen waiting eagerly by the door for the postman’s arrival became a tradition that lasted for years. Sadly, however, this tradition suddenly came to an end.
One day, Fernando saw the Cimino family’s mailbox with its flag up, which meant that there was outgoing mail. When he opened the box to retrieve the letter, he found a ziplocked package housing a familiar item – dog treats – and a note that appeared to be addressed to him.
“Gretchen passed away yesterday. She asked me to ask you if you would share her treats that she never got to finish with the other dogs on your route. She always enjoyed seeing you come to the door and was always happy to get a snack from you.”
He choked up as he read the note. Afterward, he knocked on the Cimino family’s door to express his condolences. He promised that he will carry out Gretchen’s final wish.
“I’ve been giving out her treats to the dogs on my route every day. And when I do, I always say, ‘This is from Gretchen,’” Fernando said.
Fernando admits that whenever he passes by Gretchen’s house, he still has to remind himself that she is not there. But even if she’s already gone, he will always carry her legacy in his heart.
“I still expect to see my old buddy Gretchen, but of course she’s not there anymore. To me, dogs become a part of us.”
We’re sure that Gretchen is having the time of her life up there in doggie heaven. Thank you, Cimino Family and Fernando, for making her life here in this world as wonderful as possible.
Share this heartwarming story.