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South Orange UPS Delivery Man Melts Hearts With Loving Care for Dying Dog

Walter Carretero and Rocky on the UPS Dogs Facebook page. Photos courtesy of Wendy Mesnick Lazarus.

When Wendy Mesnick Lazarus of South Orange posted on the UPS Dogs Facebook page about the love story between her UPS delivery man Walter Carretero and her dog Rocky, she had no idea that the story would be shared and “liked” by tens of thousands of people.

Lazarus was moved to post about Carretero after her beloved golden retriever Rocky passed away from cancer. Walter had always been adored by Rocky — and vice versa — but the level of caring really came to the fore in Rocky’s waning weeks, when Walter began bringing specially prepared meals for Rocky to eat.

“Rocky was not eating well, but seemed to still love to see Walter and get a biscuit or two or three,” Lazarus wrote. “When Walter learned that Rocky only liked his biscuits, he started coming by every day to give Rocky as many biscuits as he would eat.”

However, as Rocky’s condition worsened, “even Walter’s magic biscuits were not appealing,” reported Lazarus. So Walter brought  “chicken and rice made by his wife. Rocky loved it and the next day Walter brought pasta and beef, followed by another chicken dish. One day, we face-timed with his wife so she could meet Rocky and we could thank her. In all of the years of offering Walter water or fruit or anything, I finally got him to take home a piece of blueberry cake for his wife!”

Lazarus realized that Walter’s kindness was a gift to more than Rocky: “I had known very little about Walter, just that he had a son of whom he was very proud, and he worked very hard to provide for his family. In the weeks of Rocky’s illness, I learned where he was born, all about his dreams for his son and his family’s future. Walter left for his family vacation and gave me and Rocky a big hug filled with tears knowing that Rocky would not likely be there when he returned. Walter was one of our first texts to share the sad news and he sent back sweet words of encouragement.”

After sharing the story on Facebook, Lazarus was blown away by the response.

“I cannot believe all of this. There are 31,000 likes on Facebook and 25,000 on instagram,” she wrote to Village Green on Monday (the numbers were even higher as of publication).

On the SOMA Lounge Facebook group, the response has likewise been phenomenal.

“I love Walter,” wrote Lisa Schneit Bressler . “He did the same for our beloved shih tzu who passed away of cancer last November.”

Walter is the best,” wrote Maggie Hames, in a post that was echoed by dozens more on SOMA Lounge.

“Such a bittersweet story,” posted Allison Tragash. “Walter is really the best. Even when we’re not home he always leaves a cookie on top of our packages for our dog. He’s a special person.”

“Even though I almost NEVER get a package, Walter and I exchange honks and waves whenever we pass,” wrote Paul Wolkstein. “He is a great guy.”

For his part, Carretero told Village Green that he is friends with all the dogs on his route. In January, Carretero will have spent 18 of his 25 years with UPS delivering to South Orange. He says that he has 1,500 home on his route and estimates that about half of them have dogs. “It’s a lot of dogs!” said Carretero, who nonetheless spends his own money to purchase treats for pooches. Even though UPS has lately discouraged the practice, Carretero said he cannot stop: “I’ve been doing it for so many years. It would be hard for the pups!”

A resident of Old Bridge, Carretero said he loves his job and traveling to South Orange: “I care about people and I try to please everybody as much as I can.”

About his extraordinary generosity to Rocky, Carretero said he did “nothing special.”

“I just do my job and treat people with respect.”

Wendy Mesnick Lazarus’s full UPS Dogs post:

This is a story that began with packages, biscuits, holiday cards and friendly hello’s that grew into a sweet friendship. Walter Carretero, has been delivering UPS packages and biscuits to our home for as long as I can remember. Of course, the frequency increased in recent years with older girls and more deliveries, and our golden retriever Rocky was definitely the happiest member of the house. Rocky would hear Walter’s truck, jump off the couch and run to the door. Walter would even give Rocky biscuits if he was delivering a package across the street or happened to see us on a walk in the neighborhood. It was always nice to see both of them smile when they greeted one another.

A few months ago just before his 9th birthday, Rocky was diagnosed with cancer and given only a few weeks to live. We were all heartbroken and doing our best to keep Rocky happy and healthy for as long as we could. Rocky was not eating well, but seemed to still love to see Walter and get a biscuit or two or three. When Walter learned that Rocky only liked his biscuits, he started coming by every day to give Rocky as many biscuits as he would eat. Walter would sit on the front lawn or steps, share in sprinkler time, and chat with us as he fed Rocky biscuits. It was a nice time of day for us all. As Rocky got sicker, even Walter’s magic biscuits were not appealing. I told Walter that I was cooking more for Rocky than I had for my husband in 20 years. The next day, Walter appeared not with biscuits, but with chicken and rice made by his wife. Rocky loved it and the next day Walter brought pasta and beef, followed by another chicken dish. One day, we face-timed with his wife so she could meet Rocky and we could thank her. In all of the years of offering Walter water or fruit or anything, I finally got him to take home a piece of blueberry cake for his wife!

I had known very little about Walter, just that he had a son of whom he was very proud, and he worked very hard to provide for his family. In the weeks of Rocky’s illness, I learned where he was born, all about his dreams for his son and his family’s future. Walter left for his family vacation and gave me and Rocky a big hug filled with tears knowing that Rocky would not likely be there when he returned. Walter was one of our first texts to share the sad news and he sent back sweet words of encouragement. When Walter returned, he came by to say hello and give me a big hug. When I see Walter’s truck in town, I still cry, but my heart is full. Walter comes by all of the time and our exchanges are more special and meaningful. I miss Rocky’s special bark of excitement to let me know that Walter is here or even somewhere on the street. I know Walter does too..💔 South Orange, NJ

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