When Gretchen the German Shepherd was rescued by the Cimino family in 2013, they were worried about her wariness of anyone who wasn’t part of the family. But that all changed when postal worker Fernando Barboza started taking the time to make Gretchen feel comfortable. 

An animal lover through and through, Fernando carries treats in his truck and feels it’s only right to deliver treats to the neighbourhood dogs when he does his rounds. “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,” he told The Dodo.

Fernando saw Gretchen’s anxiety and made an extra effort to let her know she was safe. He would bring her treats and call her name, and while it was slow going in the beginning, Gretchen came to look forward to the mailman’s visits. She even became jealous if she saw him delivering mail to the neighbours. 

“He would call her name and she started looking forward to it,” Chris Cimino told GMA. “Even when he didn’t have any packages to deliver to the door he would drive by and say, ‘Hey Gretchen.'”

Early in April, Fernando reached into the Cimino family’s mailbox, expecting to find their outgoing mail, but instead discovered a bag of treats attached to a note addressed to him. 

“Gretchen passed away yesterday,” the note read. “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.”

The Cimino family explained that they were just too heartbroken to tell their mailman in person and thought a note would be the best way to break the news. Fernando’s daughter shared a photo of the note on Twitter, and the internet responded with an outpouring of love from all over the globe. The post received more that 873,000 likes, 186,000 retweets, and many heartfelt sentiments for both the Cimino family and their dog-loving mailman. Fernando managed to fulfill Gretchen’s wish by sharing her treats with her canine friends in the neighbourhood and told The Dodo he always makes sure they know who the treats are from, saying “This is from Gretchen.”