Us mutts were lucky enough to catch up with Traci Griffiths, Founder of one of our favourite brands Miyow & Barkley and the Director of The Zambi Wildlife Retreat. We talk all things Traci and her work with this amazing rescue organisation! Check out the Interview below:
DOGUE: Tell us a bit about your background
Traci: After a lengthy & successful modelling career, teaching advanced literacy to students with learning disabilities and working as a NSW Ambulance Paramedic, I had hit crossroads in my life. I was looking to focus my energy and passion into a business that could encompass all the things held dear to me.
As a young girl growing up on a farm south of Sydney Australia, my childhood was filled with all kinds of crazy and exciting experiences with almost every animal you could possibly imagine. These childhood experiences became the foundation for my desire to work in the pet industry.
DOGUE: Volunteering has been a huge part of your life, what first sparked your interest in animal welfare?
Traci: Growing up in the country, I was always surrounded by animals and so naturally they became a part of my extended family. We often took in rescues and this taught me to have compassion for all living beings, so I guess volunteering in my adult years was a natural progression from where I had come from.
DOGUE: How did you get started with the Zambi Wildlife Retreat?
Traci: A good friend of mine, Donna, who is a well respected keeper/trainer working within the animal industry, had the idea to start a wildlife sanctuary some day. It wasn’t long before we got talking that we realized we had the same aspirations and goals. So we put our heads together and took a leap of faith for the animals and Zambi Wildlife Retreat came to fruition.
DOGUE: What is the Retreat’s mission?
Traci: Our mission is to become Australia's first and only animal welfare establishment that can Rescue, Rehabilitate, Re-home and offer Shelter to a wide range of species.While our focus will be on exotic animals needing retirement from zoo breeding programs, circus and private ownership, we will also provide care and shelter to domestics, farm animals and native wildlife. Emergency rescue is available across all species.
DOGUE: What challenges are the Retreat facing?
Traci: As with all businesses, we face our day to day challenges. At Zambi challenges can range from sourcing enough fresh food to feed over 100 animals to raising funds for medical bills and the general care of the animals.
DOGUE: What is the most rewarding part about working with these animals?
Traci: Well the most obvious rewards are the licks, sniffs and cuddles, but I always say, there is nothing more rewarding, than doing something for someone who can never repay you…
DOGUE: What are your hopes for the Zambi Wildlife Retreat over the next 5 years?
Traci: Right now we are leasing private property, so our hopes are to eventually raise enough funds to buy our own land to ensure the animals will have forever homes.
DOGUE: How can people help and get involved with this great cause?
Traci: There are many ways people can help, they can:
- sponsor one of our animals
- make a donation
- purchase an item from our gift shop
- donate food/building items/equipment etc.
- Attend our Zambi Fundraiser Gala on 1st Dec (bookings close 23rd November)
- Host their own fundraiser
Most of the above can be done via our website Zambi Wildlife Retreat.
DOGUE: You are the founder of Miyow & Barkley, the director of Zambi Wildlife Retreat and a passionate animal rights activist; how do you manage your time?
Traci: Time!? What’s that!? *lol* To add to my work load I am also an active WIRES member, specialising in caring for possums and gliders and so right now I have 6 baby possums in my care and a baby bird, who all require around the clock feeds. Not to forget my own furkids, which include, two dogs, three cats, two chickens and a rabbit.
I have also started an organic, eco & vegan friendly online store for kids called Bubby Grubs. So as you can see ALL my work connects back to the animals and I feel that if you find something that you love doing you’ll always find the time and never work a day in your life.
Throughout November DOGUE Brighton is raising funds for the Zambi Wildlife Retreat. You can purchase tickets in-store for the chance to WIN a Miyow & Barkley Snuggle Pod. Tickets are 1 for $5 and 3 tickets for $10 with all funds raised donated to the Zambi Wildlife Retreat.