Impressed with dog welfare initiative, Ratan Tata offers job to 27-year-old Shantanu Naidu

The youngster was also featured in the Tata newsletter.

Agencies
Ratan Tata (R) invited Shantanu Naidu (L) to introduce him to his dogs.
Ratan Tata’s enduring love of dogs has been well documented. The chairman emeritus of Tata Sons has often spoken of his dogs, present and past. The group’s Bombay House headquarters has a permanent room for stray dogs.

But as one youngster learnt recently, a love for dogs could even get one a dream job with Tata. Shantanu Naidu, 27, wrote a post on Facebook recently, where he said he’d been making collars with reflectors for stray dogs, so drivers can spot them on the roads of Mumbai. “Word spread and our work got featured in the Tata newsletter,” Naidu wrote.

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“I graduated in 2014 & started working at Tata group. Life was pretty smooth, until one evening, I saw the dead body of a dog on the road. I’ve always been fond of dogs & also rescued a few. So, seeing a stray like that killed me. I stood there thinking about bringing the body to the side, when another car ran over it—I was gutted. I knew that I had to do something. So I called a few friends & made a collar with reflectors on it, for drivers to see the dog from afar. The next day, we went & put these collars on stray dogs. I didn’t know if it would work, but when I received a message saying that a dog had been saved because of the collar—it felt amazing! Soon, word spread & our work got covered in the Tata group of companies’ newsletter. People wanted to buy our collars, but we had no funding. That’s when my dad asked me to write a letter to Mr. Ratan Tata, since he loves dogs too. I was hesitant, but then I thought, ‘Why not?’ So I wrote him a handwritten letter & forgot about it! Two months later, I received a letter from Mr. Ratan Tata himself! When I opened it, it said that he loved our work & would like to meet me—I couldn’t believe it! A few days later I met him at his office in Mumbai. He told me,‘I’m deeply touched by the work you do!’ I still get goosebumps thinking about it. He then took me to see his dogs & that’s how our friendship began. He also funded our venture! I left for my masters soon, but I promised him that once I finished, I would work for the Tata Trust & he accepted my request! As soon as I came back to India, he called me & said ‘I have a lot of work to be done in my office. Would you like to be my assistant?’—I didn't know how to react. So I took a deep breath, & a few seconds later said ‘Yes!’ It’s been 18 months since I’ve been working for him & even now, I have to pinch myself to know that this isn’t a dream. People my age have a hard time finding the right set of friends, the right mentor & the right kind of boss. But I can’t believe my stars that I found all these humans in one superhuman named Mr. Ratan Tata. People lovingly call him Boss, but I like to call him the ‘Millennial Dumbledore’—I think that name suits him the best."

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But it doesn’t end here. A few days later, Ratan Tata invited him for a meeting. “He told me, ‘I’m deeply touched by the work you do.’ He took me to this place to see his dogs, and that’s how our friendship began,” he said.

He then left India to pursue his education, but upon returning, Tata called him again. “He said, ‘I have a lot of work to be done in my office. Would you like to be my assistant?’ I didn’t know how to react. I took a deep breath, and a few seconds later said ‘Yes’.”

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