In a heartwarming development, Ratan Tata’s passion for animals is taking a concrete shape with the imminent inauguration of the Tata Trusts Small Animal Hospital in Mahalaxmi, Mumbai. After retiring as the chairman of Tata Sons, Tata turned his attention to this pet project, driven by a deep love for animals and a commitment to providing world-class veterinary care in India.
Scheduled for inauguration in the first week of March, the hospital is a testament to Tata’s belief that pets are integral members of families. In an interview with Times of India, the 86-year-old industrialist and philanthropist shared the motivation behind his dream project.
“A pet is no different from a member of one’s family today. As the guardian of several pets throughout my life, I recognize the need for this hospital,” Tata expressed.
The hospital, constructed at a cost of Rs 165 crore, spans five stories and is equipped to accommodate 200 patients. Thomas Heathcote, a British veterinarian who has relocated to Mumbai, will lead the hospital’s dedicated team.
Tata’s initial vision for the hospital, announced in 2017, placed it in Navi Mumbai. However, considering the potential deterrent of a long commute for pet parents, especially during emergencies, Tata decided to relocate the hospital to a more central location in Mahalaxmi.
“The distance could’ve been a major deterrent for pet parents, especially those in need of emergency services. With this in mind, finding the right space for land and getting permissions was also a reason for delay,” explained Tata, highlighting the meticulous planning that went into the project.
The construction timeline faced additional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to delays. Tata elaborated, “It then took us about a year and a half to realign the agreements, documentation, and paperwork. By the time we returned to normalcy, the expenses of the hospital had also been impacted owing to inflationary costs of steel, manpower, and availability of raw materials.”
As the Tata Trusts Small Animal Hospital prepares to open its doors, it stands as a symbol of Ratan Tata’s commitment to enhancing veterinary care standards in the country and providing a state-of-the-art facility for the well-being of small animals.