After being asked to reschedule euthanizing her family dog so that she wouldn’t miss her shift, a Starbucks barista decided to leave her position.

Auralee Smith in her Starbucks uniform and with her dog, Gandy. Courtesy of Auralee Smith.
Auralee Smith in her Starbucks uniform and with her dog, Gandy. Courtesy of Auralee Smith.

When her manager requested that she delay an appointment to have her dog put to sleep so that she wouldn’t have to miss work, the 21-year-old college student quit her job as a Starbucks barista.

Auralee Smith referred to Gandy, the family’s rescue dog, as her “best friend.” According to Smith, Gandy was “very afraid and stuff” when the family adopted her when she was about eight years old.

She came out of her shell with the support of my family, Smith claimed. It seems as though she was just relieved to get out of a difficult position.

Gandy’s love of taking naps in the sun led the family to make the joke that she was a “cat-dog.” Gandy would “sing,” according to Smith, a New Jersey piano teacher.

Because Gandy adored taking naps in the sun, the family made fun of the fact that she was a “cat-dog”. Smith, a New Jersey-based piano instructor, claimed that Gandy would “sing along” while playing the piano.

Smith explained, “I would play a note, and she’d try to match it with howling. “It was so sweet. She cherished that.”

The news that Gandy had cancer and that surgery was not advised because of her advanced age devastated her family. Smith claimed that after choosing to put Gandy to sleep, the last thing she anticipated was for her Starbucks manager to beg her to “actually modify the day I put her to sleep” when she requested her shift.

Auralee Smith's dog, Gandy. Courtesy of Auralee Smith.
Auralee Smith’s dog, Gandy. Courtesy of Auralee Smith.

“I apologize, but I’m looking for coverage for my Sunday shift. On Saturday night, I have to put my dog to sleep, and I’ll be a complete disaster. In a text message to her supervisor in February, Smith referred to her as her closest friend and added, “I’m going to text some individuals and see if they can help out.”

Smith’s manager said, “I really need you to find coverage. “Although I recognize the difficulty of the situation, you have had ample time to come in, and if you don’t, it won’t be accepted. Is there a chance you could do it on a night when you have the following day off from work?”

Smith claimed that text message was the final straw after more than two years of employment with Starbucks.

“When I finished reading the last sentence, I audibly said, “Oh. What the heck? How?’ What decision was made regarding what to say to me? said Smith. “Just asking me if I could change the day I put her to sleep was such a cruel response to me,” the author said.

Smith texted her manager in response: “I’ll make an effort to locate coverage. I apologize if this inconveniences you, but my family has decided to do this because the family dog is very ill. When I put my dog down for Starbucks, I am unable to reschedule. This is also the official start of my two weeks. While I appreciate everything this organization has done for me throughout my 2.5 years here, I’m ready to move on.”

Smith admitted that while it was unpleasant, she wasn’t wholly shocked by her manager’s attitude and didn’t take full responsibility. She claimed that Starbucks as a business fostered a culture in which workers were overworked and undervalued. It has been a recurring theme among the staff members of the coffee business, many of whom have joined a union.

This, according to Smith, “is basically the mentality that Starbucks fosters behind the scenes.” “The mentality that results in someone asking me to change the day I put my dog to death only kept growing worse throughout my tenure at Starbucks. I could already feel my energy waning and so. I only just noticed that, therefore that was it.”

According to a Starbucks spokesperson, Smith’s released text messages do not provide a complete picture. Smith’s manager sympathized with her predicament in texts revealed with Insider, but insisted that Smith still needed to fill in for her shift.

“Our first concern has been and will continue to be the health and wellbeing of our partners. In this case, we were able to assist this partner in obtaining coverage for her work at the time, “In a statement, a representative for Starbucks stated.

The company attempted to promote a big-happy-family atmosphere while employees worked in tense circumstances where customers wanted their coffee quickly and to be on their way. Smith said she received an outpouring of support after posting screenshots of the exchange on Twitter and Reddit after having time to grieve for Gandy, but she is still angry about how the company handled this.

According to Smith, “although they’ve become more corrosive and nasty in that sense, they still still – they meaning the firm – are holding so hard to this concept that they’re trying to be a tiny family-owned coffee shop or something and not the McDonald’s of coffee shops. When everything is understaffed, poisonous, and harsh, they expect you to pretend like the establishment is a small mom-and-pop shop.

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