When I was looking for offices, I wanted a place where I could take my Lhasa Apso, Wiggles, with me. In India, we don’t have the concept of pet-friendly workplaces and I rejected every space that was not welcoming of them. Without pets in the office, it feels hollow and empty to me. I wanted to build a place where they don’t have to be tied in a corner and can run freely. It had to be pet-friendly and pet-centric.
Having pets in the office has taught me to be grounded; it is humbling. They’re important because that is our ethos. Unless we start showing it in our actions sitting out here, how will this translate into anything externally with any other stakeholder? I learned accountability and responsibility from this journey.
I speak to Wiggles, and many think I am crazy when I say that he speaks to me too. He communicates with his actions effortlessly. When we were looking for a new office I looked at him. He looked at me with piercing eyes and said woof! And I just knew. Such moments are very special to me because I have learned to trust his judgment.
Our workspace can’t be just another company where people punch in and punch out when work is done, we want to create a warm and welcoming second home for our pack and their pets too. I learned that if we have to make pet parents, who are also our colleagues, feel at ease, then they should be comfortable in bringing their furry babies to work. The aim is for them to be happy and at peace; without the guilt of leaving them behind. I think the environment becomes productive and motivating when you get to see their happiness.
When our colleague moved lock, stock, and barrel with her Rottweiler Maura, she told me that she has to bring Maura to work because she is her shadow. Anyone would be scared seeing such a dog, but Maura is the sweetest girl around and everybody welcomed her with much fondness. Subconsciously, we have contributed to many colleagues feeling inspired to adopt pets and they’re all loving animals differently and with purpose.
Having dogs and cats in the office has taught me kindness, compassion and patience. They’ve taught me empathy and go with the ‘serve not sell’ ideology. Most of all, they’ve taught me there’s no shortcut to true love and care.