On the banks of the BR-040, in the vicinity of the Jardim Canada neighborhood, in the municipality of Nova Lima, a curious event draws the attention of those visiting a local gas station. In addition to the large trucks that stop there and the restaurant with food always hot on the wood stove, a troupe of dogs of “all qualities” is a captive and welcome presence in those stops. There is no exception to the way they were arriving. One by one they were abandoned, and those lucky enough not to perish on the fast lane found a safe haven there, complete with good food, veterinary care and some perks. With the new life, they also gained a new identity: Pretinha, Dourada, Gilbinha, Amarelão, Lora, Mel, and several others who are there or who have passed through there and ended up in loving homes after being adopted.
The less skittish have become mascots and check in at the office of businessman Alexandre Bossi Grassi Ferreira, who provided cots and even badges for his illustrious collaborators. Since he went to work with his father, managing the post, the fate of countless animals has changed, and the abandonment rate there is decreasing. In addition to his example changing the conscience of both customers and employees in relation to the crime of mistreatment, whenever another furry appears in the neighborhood, he immediately arranges for it to be neutered, avoiding uncontrolled procreation. “I had my first dog when I was 8 years old, Nick, a golden retriever breed. I remember him always waiting for me to come home from school to play”, says Alexandre. “Living with him made me realize how pure animals are and how much they need us.”
For him and so many other entrepreneurs, ignoring animal suffering is a practice that no longer suits human beings or companies that claim to be connected to the sustainability of the planet. Sustainable companies think about the ecosystem as a whole and make it a competitive differentiator. In addition to profits, they think about the future and there is no future without animal and environmental protection and welfare. In the Brazilian mini-documentary produced by World Animal Protection in 2021, entitled “Multi-resistant Bacteria: an Invisible Threat”, the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies multidrug-resistant bacteria as one of the ten global threats to public health faced by humanity. This fact is intrinsically linked to the degrading coexistence of human beings with fauna and flora, causing diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
Aware that healthy animals do not transmit disease, caring for the homeless population as a result of human abandonment would, in fact, be a public health issue. “‘I don’t see it as an act of mercy. It’s a matter of social conscience. One helping the other”, says businessman Luiz Alberto, better known as Bebeto. Owner of PointUTV, an accessories store for off road vehicles in Jardim Canada, he has four adopted dogs at home. In his company logo, the image of Muttley, the dog of the famous character Dick Vigarista, from the cartoon Corrida Maluca, already tells of his love for pets. More recently, it gained a mascot to live up to its name. A recently rescued three-legged stray dog trapped in a fence. “It will be our real Muttley. It will bring new life and energy to our space.”
At the Pousada do Comandante, in Macacos, the dog Layla, of mixed breed, is the pet of businesswoman Ângela Mara Borges. She sleeps at the foot of your bed and takes on the role of cicerone for all guests who frequent the place. Anyone who sees her parading with her long, shiny black fur through the inn’s facilities cannot imagine her origins. “One of our former housekeepers found her very sick and full of worms. Since then, we have adopted her and she has become our great companion. She is part of our family”, says Ângela. A few kilometers away, in the Savassi region, businessman Matheus de Freitas Vidal Szenberg was enchanted by the kitten Juliana. Pet Happy’s owner, he decided to find a pet for his store at an adoption fair. Charismatic, the kitten stole the show and became the pet shop sensation. “She makes a point of standing at the entrance of the store to get the attention of guests. When she’s not there, she’s already missed. She brings a lot of joy to our business.”