In caring for lost pooch, company discovered renewal of purpose, sense of community: Robert Granader


MAYFIELD HEIGHTS – For some it’s back to school, for many it’s also back to school as CEOs try to convince everyone that a company exists in an office, not on Zoom.

Before COVID-19, in our Cleveland office (located in Mayfield Heights), about 70 employees would come through the front door every day to greet the retired gentleman behind the desk, bring coffee to colleagues, and ask if this customer question had been answered.

But late one summer, a member of the team called to say she was bringing a dog and needed help. She had been driving down Main Street outside of Mayfield Heights when she saw a skinny and limping puppy. She crammed the frightened puppy into her car and took him to the office.

Everyone joined in to fetch him water, treat his burned paws and try to calm that trembling soul. We kept the dog in the office for several days, feeding and grooming him as he grew stronger, friendlier and more comfortable. We’ve assigned him chores like taking him to the vet, bathing him, and even getting him his daily Starbucks croissant.

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Signs were put up in the neighborhood with pictures of the dog we now called Rufus, asking for help locating the owners. Weeks later there was a knock on our office door.

Robert Granader is CEO of Marketresearch.com, which has owned Cleveland-based Freedonia Group since 2016.  The Freedonia Group has been creating industry insights for market leaders since 1985.

Robert Granader is CEO of Marketresearch.com, which has owned Cleveland-based Freedonia Group since 2016. The Freedonia Group has been creating industry insights for market leaders since 1985.

We asked a few questions and they convinced us it was theirs.

Further questions led to an explanation. The owner was away and the friend let the dog escape. They argued about what to do with him.

“Can we keep him?” someone asked.

“Now how much are you willing to pay,” replied the rightful owner.

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After some negotiation, we learned that it would cost $500 to protect Rufus. Our HR department sent out a company-wide email asking for contributions. Thousands of dollars poured in from across the company. The owner got paid and left.

That was in 2018.

Rufus is now thriving living in the suburbs with a member of our tech team along with two other dogs. The issue here is not whether Rufus would have been saved without a full office. This is about a company ethos, a sense of community.

In Webster’s second definition of the word “enterprise” is the “fact or condition of being with someone or others, especially in a way that offers friendship and pleasure”.

A return to the office is a return to normal, it’s a return to connection and community, many of the things we’ve lost during the pandemic.

In a remote work universe, Rufus might have been picked up by someone, but he wouldn’t have been taken to an office for a company to nurse him back to health. He wouldn’t have been hugged by an army of people feeding the dog, not dog food.

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He would not have known the joy of having 140 hands caressing his stomach a day. He wouldn’t have been the reason people rushed into the office in the morning. He would not have understood tenderness and kindness. He wouldn’t have understood love.

And a company wouldn’t have found new purpose in the eyes of a lost puppy.

Robert Granader is CEO of Marktforschung.comwhich has been owned by the Cleveland-based Freedonia Group since 2016. The Freedonia Group has been creating industry insights for market leaders since 1985. He’s a self-proclaimed Michigan Wolverine who has grown to love Ohio.

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