Grieving dog owner gets surprise when trying to return unused pet food: ‘It was so touching’

Anna Brose shares a picture of her dog, Gus. (Credit: Anna Brose)

When Anna Brose’s dog passed, she decided to send unused pet food back to Chewy — not expecting the company to send her a gift back.

Gus — Brose’s 5-year-old chocolate lab/German short-haired pointer mix — recently died from stomach bloat.

"Gus was a sweet, loving soul," Brose told FOX Television Stations. "He was very nervous when we first adopted him, and had a lot of fears — new people, thunder, balloons — but he worked so hard to overcome those fears in order to be close to us. He just wanted to be in physical contact with one of us at all times."

Brose said she orders pet food from Chewy and tried to return the unopened bag of Gus’ dog food a week after he died.

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She said the company’s customer service agent, named Jordan, not only offered condolences but gave her a full refund. Brose said the agent advised her to donate the food to a local shelter.

Then came a surprise.

Brose said, last week, she found a box of flowers on her front porch in Madison, Wisconsin. She first thought it was from a friend or relative, but it turned out the bouquet came from Jordan of Chewy.

"It was so touching and unexpected to receive the flowers from Chewy," she continued. "It absolutely blew me away. I've always had great customer service from them, but this was a whole other level. It meant so much to us that they knew and cared that Gus was gone."

She posted about the touching gesture on her Twitter page.

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"I contacted @Chewy last week to see if I could return an unopened bag of my dog’s food after he died" she posted. "They 1) gave me a full refund, 2) told me to donate the food to the shelter, and 3) had flowers delivered today with the gift note signed by the person I talked to??"

Chewy also responded.

"It's the least we could do, Anna. We hope these flowers will help to keep your spirits up," the company tweeted.

"Each interaction with a customer is an opportunity to delight them in a moment of joy or provide empathy in a time of grief," Andrew Stein, senior director of Chewy’s customer service,  said in a statement to FOX Television Stations. "These acts of enduring companionship, which include sending hand-written holiday cards, hand-painted pet portraits and sympathy flowers, are embedded in our culture and allow us to create deeply personal and emotional connections through all the highs and lows of the pet parent journey."

Some people online have accused Chewy of self-promoting. However, Brose said that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t have compassion.

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"Of course, a company has to self-promote to be successful," she added. "However, I truly feel like their customer service folks are acting out of compassion and genuine caring for their customers and customers' pets."

Brose said she never predicted her tweet will go viral, but it has been a special way of remembering Gus.

"Gus was such a special dog, and it means so much that so many people will remember him," she said. " I hope people find hope in this story and feel inspired to support shelter dogs like Gus by adopting or donating to their local humane society."

This story was reported from Los Angeles.