Heloisa joined #LifeAtPetSmart this summer as one of our awesome interns in the Supply Chain department. She rocked her #PetSmartOnCampus experience and made the most of her 10-weeks with us—and even shared her story of Belonging! Check it out below.
The Belonging Program’s “I Belong” Series harnesses the power of empathy through storytelling. This series is intended to give associates a greater sense of understanding, a bridge to gain new perspective, and a way to build connection to each other. To learn more about the “I Belong” Series or to submit your stories, associates can visit PetSmart's Belonging Fetch Page.
Meet Heloisa | Supply Chain Intern, Summer 2021
Before joining PetSmart as a Supply Chain Intern in 2021, I was encouraged to act and hide part of myself, so I could “be successful.”
I was scared of sharing who I am – having a complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and owning a service dog who helps me mitigate my disability – because I was worried my application would somehow be denied. Associates would assume that I wouldn’t be able to do my job, right?
I got accepted into the program, and the truth is, I still tried to hide it from everyone at the beginning. I had a lot of thoughts in my mind, like, “What if I tell them about the service animal and they won’t hire me back?” “What if they treat me differently and agree with anything I say because they are sad for me?” “What if my dog gets attacked by another dog at the office?” “What is the dynamic at the office, and how do I fit in?”
Then one day, I shared with one person who encouraged me to be myself and made sure I knew that this wasn’t a limitation. This spark and affirmation encouraged me to visit the Phoenix Home Office (PHO) to learn more about the business. After hours of consideration and a lot of anxiety, I decided to own who I was and the challenges I have been through, and bring my service animal with me.
I quickly learned that my worries were a waste of time – for the first time in my life with my service dog, Maya, no one took pictures or asked what was wrong with me. I’m so glad that I had the chance to be seen for my work and not by my limitations. I felt like I belonged, and that being an immigrant woman with disabilities did not stop me. PetSmart’s culture greatly impacted me, and I want you to know that if you suffer from mental health or have a service animal, you are not the only one and you belong here, too! So, be your authentic self! You deserve a break!