On Saturday, 8 October 2017, Royal Canin South Africa, along with associated Mars Petcare brands Pedigree® and Whiskas®, partnered with the Soweto Animal Rescue and Advisory Centre (SARAC) and the first pet shop in Soweto, Paws Pet Shop, hosted an outreach programme in Shap Park, Soweto, to bring canine health nutrition to the dog owners in the region.
The event also marked the launch of Paws Pet Shop, the brainchild of Vusi Mazibuko. The objective of the pet shop is not just to bring nutrition to pet owners; but to educate them on responsible pet ownership. Mazibuko says that one of his inspirations to open the shop was when he purchased of a puppy, an excitable and loving Jack Russell, and realised that Soweto did not provide adequate support for dog owners.
Mazibuko’s father’s legacy also inspired him to run his own business. Having owned a pub, his father gave him the understanding of business and encouraged him to use the knowledge gained to establish his own going concern. The idea to open the first pet shop in Soweto came to him earlier in 2017 and together with his wife, Tumi, they conceptualised the name and branding before approaching corporate companies to partner in the business.
It was Royal Canin® that was attracted to the idea as it has been an objective of the company to bring health nutrition and the notion of responsible pet ownership to canine and feline owners in all communities across South Africa. In less than a year, Mazibuko’s dream became a reality.
According to Royal Canin® Marketing Manager, Tarryn Day, there is a great need to reach pet owners in Soweto and to educate them on the benefits of responsible pet ownership and to respond to the need for healthy diets for animals in the area. “We are thrilled to be a part of this new venture,” she says. “Royal Canin® was able play a vital role in helping to stock the store and to assist with the opening, together with other Mars Petcare brands. Soweto’s pet owners are now able to get the support their pets need.”
The event held on the weekend coincided with World Animal Day, which was observed on 4 October, and the response from the community was inspirational for all brands attending. All dogs were given a health check by veterinarians and they were vaccinated, dewormed and dipped. The Soweto Animal Rescue and Advisory Centre (SARAC) was the beneficiary for the day with proceeds of the day being donated to them.
“The day was an enormous success,” says Day. “The response from dog owners was overwhelming and we were impressed with the passion that they have for their animals. Each owner showed a clear understanding of the importance of pet health care.”
The day proved to be a success for SARAC as they received R1300 from the 130 adults who entered the event. The day also provided an opportunity for local business to take part and Lady Jo’s Kitchen, Ali’s Kitchen and Busi’s Kitchen were all available to keep the crowds fed and hydrated. Their presence certainly did provide the event with that extra value.
Some very special breeds were on display for the people of Soweto to witness the variety of dogs that are favourites of many pet owners. Tarryn Day showed Harley, a Golden Retriever and Jasmine, a Pomeranian Cross. One of Royal Canin South Africa’s breeders, Vusumuzi Bibo brought two majestic Boerboels and we were also treated to an American Bulldog, somewhat rare in South Africa.
The South African Police’s West Rand Canine Unit also showed their Malinois and a German Shepherd. The SAPS was later joined by a Border Collie to thrill the crowd with a display that highlighted the abilities of these dogs to fight crime in South Africa.
Situated at 1086, Kunene Street, Rockville, the pet shop is open 6 days a week, Mazibuko says that to see his dream come true is emotional for him. He is proud to see his father’s legacy in his new business and more importantly excited to see that pet owners in Soweto will have the support they desperately need from a local pet shop.
Royal Canin® is a global pet nutrition company that focusses on highly digestible, highly palatable and specific diets for cats and dogs. Royal Canin provides nutritional solutions for each pet including a full range of prescription foods for those pets with veterinary-diagnosed ailments and diseases. A member of the Pet Food Industry of South Africa (PFI), Royal Canin® is represented globally in many countries on their pet food forums and is active in helping to raise the quality and food safety standards worldwide.
For more information on the Soweto Dog Day and on any Royal Canin® canine or feline health nutrition solutions, contact them on 0860 630 063 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.