The urban myth has always been that dogs and postmen never get along. However, we know that’s not always the case. And it certainly wasn’t the case for postal worker Fernando Barboza who’s such a lover of the dogs on his route that he actually keeps a bag of dog treats in his mail truck.
“When I bring a package to somebody’s door, and there’s a dog there, I give them a treat,” Barboza said to The Dodo. “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.”
This is how Barboza first came to befriend Gretchen, a senior rescue dog who lived along his route. While Barboza was a dog-loving postman who was more than happy to make canine friends along his route, Gretchen was a bit skittish and the German Shepherd generally didn’t mix with or care for people who weren’t her immediate family.
Her new family had their suspicions that the Texas rescue had probably faced abuse before she joined their family in 2013.
Chris Cimino informed The Dodo, “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.”
My dad is a mailman and he likes to give dogs on his route treats. Today he told us one of the dogs on his route passed away and his owners gave him this bag of treats with this note 😭 pic.twitter.com/JA46PU60a4
— eyelean (@amorningsting) April 1, 2019
Gretchen eventually warmed up to the Crimino family, but she remained very skeptical of other humans. That is, until she met Barboza.
Gretchen’s owner talked about her affinity for the mailman, describing how she faithfully waited for him everyday for years.
“She knew the sound of the mail truck and she would perk up and get ready when she heard it. “[Barboza] just wore away that callus she carried with his good nature and love for her. And she loved him too,” Cimino told The Dodo.
The two of them had a special bond, so when there was a heartbreaking letter in the Cimino family’s outgoing mailbox upon delivered letters last week, the mailman was gutted.
“Gretchen passed away yesterday,” the letter started off.
“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,” Chris Cimino wrote. “She always enjoyed seeing you come to the door and was always happy to get a snack from you.”
“I was choked up,” Barboza recalle]d.
He proudly carried out Gretchen’s last wishes, telling the Dodo, “It’s been both happy and sad. 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,” he said. “It’s bittersweet.”
Rest in peace sweet little Gretchen!