Anna Brose’s dog, Gus, died suddenly. Then Chewy, Twitter users sent flowers and their love, their condolences.

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Gus was a good dog – in fact he was the better dog, according to its owner. He enjoyed cuddling and chasing squirrels at their home outside of Madison, Wisconsin, and lived to lick whipped cream off his nose.

These are the moments Anna Brose remembers her dog after Gus died suddenly last month while she and her husband were visiting family in Alaska.

“We came back from our trip and he had just left,” Brose, 28, told The Washington Post.

Adding to the grief of losing Gus, Brose had to see if she could return an unopened bag of prescription dog food that had been delivered by pet supply retailer Chewy. The company gave him a full refund and suggested he donate the food in Gus’s name.

She then received flowers with a note. To her surprise, the flowers weren’t from a family member or friend, but from Jordan, the Chewy customer service employee she had spoken to and who sent her his written condolences.

“It meant a lot that someone else knew about Gus and cared about him leaving,” she said.

Brose recounted the experience on Twitter this week, and his story has gone viral, with strangers all over the internet paying tribute to Gus. Some have also shared their own similar stories with Chewy after the death of their beloved pets.

“Gus would have been blown away!” Brose tweeted.

Andrew Stein, senior director of customer service at Chewy, acknowledged the company’s work in addressing Brose’s situation in a statement to The Post.

“Customers are at the center of everything we do at Chewy,” Stein said. “Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to delight them in a moment of joy or provide empathy in a moment of grief.”

Stein added: “These acts of enduring companionship, which include sending handwritten greeting cards, hand-painted animal portraits and sympathy flowers, are embedded in our culture and allow us to bond deeply. personal and emotional through all the ups and downs of the animal. parent trip.

Shortly after their 2017 wedding, Brose and her husband saw Gus at a shelter in Billings, Mont. The Shorthaired Pointer and Chocolate Lab mix was around 3 years old when the couple met him at a time when Brose described Gus as “really nervous and scared”.

“I don’t know what his life was like before, but he kept coming back to us, looking for comfort and safety,” said Brose, a wildlife ecologist. “He wanted to be with us. It was just fine.

Whatever hesitation or apprehension Brose saw in Gus quickly dissipated whenever they took him outside for a walk, run or hike whenever they were in Montana. , Indiana, Alaska and Wisconsin. He would fight Juniper, the couple’s other dog, at home and at the dog park, and perform what his owner humorously called “security checks around the perimeter for squirrels.”

“As soon as he was outside, all his fear went away,” his owner said.

He also had a mischievous side. When Gus realized they were moving away from Montana, he vented his frustration on two loaves of zucchini bread Brose’s husband made for her, eating the tops of the bread in protest. Two summers ago in Wisconsin, Brose recalled having to pull Gus out of a fawn he had proudly caught.

“Normally if he got in trouble, you just looked at him funny and he was sorry,” she said. “But this time he was so happy with himself. It was the most glorious moment of his life since he finally caught something.

The couple knew he had mysterious health symptoms, but they were reassured it was not life threatening. But on the night of May 26, they got a call from the friend Gus had been staying with.

Gus was dead. He was only 7 or 8 years old, Brose said.

The couple’s vet later confirmed that Gus died of stomach bloat, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). The serious condition occurs when a dog’s stomach is filled with gas, food or liquid and then twists clockwise, according to the Central New York Veterinary Medical Center. GDV develops without warning and can be fatal if left untreated.

While the couple know what killed Gus, they don’t know what triggered the stomach bloat, Brose said.

Returning to Wisconsin meant returning to an empty house with an unopened bag of expensive prescription dog food. Not thinking she’d be able to make a phone call without crying, Brose opened up Chewy’s chat feature last week and explained how she’s wanted to return dog food since Gus died.

“I didn’t even say his name, but the person must have gone to my profile,” she said. “They got back to me right away and said, ‘I’m so sorry about Gus. It was so touching.

Brose thought Chewy had done enough when she was told she would get a full refund and was advised to donate the food to a shelter. She was wrong.

On Tuesday night, Brose came home late from watching another friend’s dog when she saw a box of flowers on her porch. She was upset when she saw that the note was signed by Jordan, the Chewy employee with whom she had discussed Gus.

In the days following his tweet about what had happened, Brose received overwhelming support. Friends and strangers posted photos of Gus and their own pets, and Chewy followed the trend on Twitter for days.

“@Chewy did the same for me when we lost our sweet boy, Murphy Brown,” tweeted actress Krys Marshall, who stars in the Apple TV series “For All Mankind.” “I had just ordered 2 cases of his special kidney diet food, and they arrived after he passed away. But they refunded in full and told us to just donate the food to a shelter. This act of kindness meant so much.

It’s been more than three weeks since Gus passed away, and the grieving process hasn’t been any easier for Brose and her husband. They focused on keeping life as normal as possible for Juniper, who Brose said has “definitely been lonely and confused” without her playmate.

The family still talks about Gus so he “doesn’t become this sad thing that disappears from our lives,” Brose said. It was made easier by Chewy’s personal note and the thousands of people who reached out online to remember their good boy.

“The kindness that Chewy and Twitter have shown since then, it kind of restored my faith in humanity,” Brose said.

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