Lifestyle & Human Interest

Owners of Dog Who Died Leave Her Mailman Friend One Last Gift from Her


Gretchen was a senior German shepherd when she was adopted in 2013 by the Cimino family in Texas.

While Gretchen’s sweet, teddy-bear personality did eventually emerge, it took her a while to trust anybody who was not a member of the Cimino household.

One person who helped bring some healing to Gretchen’s heart was the local mailman, Fernando Barboza.

Barboza initiated the relationship slowly, daily greeting Gretchen with a sincere “hello” and handing her a dog treat, even if he did not have any mail for her family.

Over time, Gretchen came to anticipate Barboza’s daily visit, until the day came when Gretchen would no longer be able to stand at the door and wag her tail with happiness, as she’d become so accustomed to doing.

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Gretchen passed away on March 31 after fighting neuropathic disease. Her owner, Chris Cimino, could not bear to break the news to Barboza in person.

Instead, he left a bag filled with dog treats, along with a heartbreaking message asking if Barboza would share the treats with other dogs on his route.

“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,” Cimino’s note read. “She always enjoyed seeing you come to the door and was always happy to get a snack from you.”

Barboza was so moved by the note that he snapped a picture and sent it to his daughter, who posted it on Twitter.

“My dad is a mailman and he likes to give dogs on his route treats,” Barboza’s daughter wrote. “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.”

The post went viral as people empathized with the loss of the German shepherd and loved learning about the sweet relationship she shared with her local mailman.

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Cimino told “Good Morning America” that he watched the sweet friendship between Gretchen and Barboza grow over the years.

“It started off slow, she is pretty mistrustful of everybody,” Cimino said. “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,'” Cimino said.

“She started looking forward to him coming by,” he added. “He would deliver a package to the old man across the street and she would get really jealous.”

In the wake of Gretchen’s recent unexpected fame, Cimino said he hopes it will encourage others to consider adopting older rescue dogs.

“You never know when you’re going to find that one-in-a-lifetime friendship,” Cimino said.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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Lifestyle & Human Interest