India

Meet one Indian ad firm's 'top dog'

The three partners Image copyright NATHAN G
Image caption Goofy (centre) with Chockalingam S and Bala Manian, the two partners of Opn Advertising

Goofy, the canine worker of an advertising firm in the southern Indian city of Chennai, has a visiting card and a "corner seat", and he performs multiple roles in the office. The BBC's Geeta Pandey recently dropped in to meet him.

When I knocked on the door of Opn Advertising and pushed it open, Goofy came running and gave me a warm welcome by wagging his tail and licking my hands.

"He came to us about 10 years back," says Bala Manian, a partner in the company, who has known Goofy for a long time. " We found him sitting in front of a tea shop. He was either abandoned or had run away or had lost his way."

Image copyright NATHAN G
Image caption Goofy offers his business card

For the first few days, Ms Manian says, they tried to look for a permanent home for him.

"Then we realised that he was too adorable to give away. Besides, he seemed very comfortable here, so we decided to adopt him. In a way, he adopted us."

Soon, Goofy became a "core member" of the office.

Image copyright NATHAN G
Image caption Goofy attends an office meeting
Image copyright NATHAN G
Image caption Goofy plays multiple roles in the office

The visiting cards at the firm list out all the designations, including that of "the office dog", and the employees choose whatever describes their role best.

Goofy, however, is not just the office dog - he's the receptionist "who opens the door and greets visitors", he's the human resource manager "who sits on recruitment interviews" and "anyone new joining the office gets to know him first".

"He does everything except for writing creatives," says Ms Manian. "He doesn't write, he barks, but pretty much he handles everything else for the company."

She says Goofy has "an acute creative sense" and his word is generally taken as final.

"Sometimes we can't decide between two ad routes we are going with, so we show them to him, the one he doesn't tear up or chew up, we present that to our client."

Image copyright NATHAN G
Image caption Goofy has a fixed place in the office where he sleeps at night

Staff members take turns to feed him and walk him and he has a "corner seat" in the office where he sleeps on a cushion at night.

"During the day, there's no fixed seating in the officer so we all work around Goofy's schedule," says Ms Manian, adding that they gave up trying years ago to persuade him to move.

"We sit where Goofy is not sitting. If you ask him to move, he looks at you with such offended eyes that you'd better move with your laptop."

Image copyright NATHAN G
Image caption Goofy's colleagues say he helps them relax in office
Image caption Goofy has his own visiting card

Goofy has strong preferences, his colleagues say - for instance, he prefers female company to male and chooses the lift over the staircase.

But his colleagues vouch for his good behaviour - they say he never barks and is never aggressive with people.

Several studies have shown that having a pet around the office boosts morale and helps people relax. And Goofy is an ace in that department too, says Aakriti Sinha.

"He manages to put people at ease, brings the stress levels down and resolves conflicts.

"When two people begin to argue, he goes and sits in the middle and defuses the situation."