Kayla has always been passionate about the care and protection of animals.

“From a very young age, I was taught how to respect and treat animals with kindness. I spent most afternoons at our local vet where my grandmother worked as a receptionist for many years. The veterinarian, Elsie, would often let me observe and assist her with minor cases. Through this experience, I developed my passion for protecting animals and wanting to understand their behaviour.”

“I started Scarlett Paws when I saw how shelters struggled to find funding. We are mainly focused on funding for animal rescue organisations; however, we do also collect donations and raise funds for people in need whenever we can.” Kayla is pursuing a certification in K9 communication to help further traumatised and neglected dogs so they can be rehomed and taught to trust humans again.

What are some of the challenges that Scarlett Paws faces?

“Like many organisations in South Africa, public ignorance is one of our biggest challenges. Breaking down popular stereotypes and myths is a constant goal for us. For example, myths such as certain dog breeds are naturally vicious and cannot be rehomed. Another challenge we face is getting the local communities to actively support the fundraisers we do. A lack of participation can hinder fundraising.”

How do you overcome these challenges?

Scarlett Paws overcomes these challenges by creating awareness through success stories and social media. “We aim to change the misconceived perception about certain animals and their reputations.”

Kayla says, “as humans, it is natural to shy away from anything that may upset us such as animal abuse or abandonment. Therefore, we try to host fun and interesting fundraising events that give the community a chance to help and feel good about their contribution to a greater cause.”

Have you had any success stories with Scarlett Paws.

In 2016, Scarlett Paws hosted a fashion show in support of Monkey Helpline, a Durban-based organisation that rescues and rehabilitates Vervet monkeys. Kayla says, “the team at Monkey Helpline has dedicated their whole life to educating the community on how to accommodate and coexist with the beautiful Vervets that call KwaZulu-Natal home. Our event brought together local models, fashion designers, dance troupes and much more that resulted in an amazing evening where we were able to raise R6000 through raffle tickets sales alone. We consider this a success as the coverage on the event by a local newspaper brought in many new supporters and donations for Monkey Helpline.”

“Another success we would like to mention is the fund-raising drive we did for Kingdom Cats Sanctuary. With the help of a local newspaper, we managed to sell our handmade necklaces and donated all the proceeds, along with various donated items for them to resell at their market stall.  With that said what we consider real success to be is anytime an animal is given a new home, is rescued from a bad home or situation and most of all when we see people learning how to treat animals with empathy and respect.”