It promised to be nothing more than a daily postal round for Fernando Barboza. But his discovery of a note from the owners of a German Shepherd left him lost for words.
By, 28 Dec 2019
A family from Texas knew when the postman was coming. The Cimino's dog Gretchen would stand at the door, stomping with anticipation. Gretchen could hear Barboza's truck before anyone else, and for five years she has greeted the postman as though he was one of the family.
“When I first met her, I was kind of worried," Barboza told The Dodo. “She was a little standoffish at first, but then I started to talk to her and pet her and bring her treats.”
But Gretchen was not always so excited about meeting people. The GSD was adopted by the Ciminos in 2013, when she was not as trusting, and had suffered at the hands of a less-than-kind owner.
Writes The Dodo, Chris Cimino said, “She was pretty mistrustful of all people. I don't know her entire backstory, but judging from her initial reactions, it wasn't a good story.”
It was in May of this year that Barboza found a note with his name on it in the post-box outside the Ciminos' house. It read:
“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.”
Barboza's heart sank.
“I saw the bag and read the note,” Barboza said. “I was choked up.”
He told the Ciminos he would carry out Gretchen's wish, and he has done so ever since.
“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,’” Barboza said.
“It's been both happy and sad," Barboza added. “I’m sad when I think about her, but I'm happy to see the other dogs' tails wagging like crazy when they get the treats. It's bittersweet.
“I know that she would have wanted her favorite things that she couldn't finish to go to her friends. She may not have liked many people, but she absolutely loved other dogs.”