We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Navarro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, how does your business help the community?
Pawsitive Beginnings Inc was born with the idea that every animal deserves a new beginning. Providing that for the foxes we take in that have been saved from the cruel fur trade that is till very much alive and well here in the United States is what we pride ourselves on. We are fortunate to live in a community that has embraced our animals and their stories and stands behind our mission 100%. The Florida Keys community has come alongside us beautifully. Many local businesses have donated their space, time, services and money to us. Our local newspaper has gifted us with a weekly column to discuss local events as well as world news as it pertains to animals being used for fashion.
Aside from caring for these amazing fur farm survivors, our other mission is to raise awareness on animals being used for fashion. I personally have been a guest on podcasts, videos and recently we were featured on “The Dodo” to help get the word out that fur is not only unnecessary in this day and age, it is also extremely cruel.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work as the founder of Pawsitive Beginnings has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Being able to provide permanent sanctuary to foxes that have survived a fur farm is a feeling unlike any other. Watching them grow and come out of their shell while simultaneously letting go of the horrors of their past is priceless.
I don’t think I am any different than other fox rescues in the country. We all work together and network when animals are in need to help find them the best homes possible.
I am most proud of the relationships I have formed with different rescues, organizations and community leaders. I feel that being hands on, out in the world is what makes non profits thrive. Meeting with local businesses, politicians and community leaders has proven to be some of the most beneficial encounters thus far.
Since the start of Pawsitive Beginnings in 2020 I have been extremely fortunate in the fact that I have not had any major challenges. Throughout my life prior, however, I have had moments where I felt like I was just wandering through life without no clear direction. Throughout this time in my life I always held on to the feeling that my purpose was out there just waiting for me to find it, and I am so glad I did.
What I want to world to know is that annually, roughly 100 million animals are killed worldwide in the name of fashion and that we need to be the voice for those animals trapped on fur farms globally. There is no reason in this day and age for such unnecessary violence towards sentient beings for unnecessary items.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The Florida Keys is definitely one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world. Key Largo has been nicknamed the Scuba Diving capital of the world and Key West is home to the Southernmost point in the Continental United States. There are 800 Keys in total that stretch over 180 miles, but the US1 highway that connects Key Largo to Key West is 113 miles long.
We are home to a variety of species of amazing animals, including five species of Sea Turtles. So one of the places I always suggest people visit down here is the world renowned Turtle Hospital in Marathon. They do truly incredible work rehabilitating and releasing sea turtles to their ocean home. Often times they host public sea turtle releases where the community is invited to line up on one of our beaches and cheer on the turtles as they are released.
Aside from the many on water activities such as diving, snorkeling, fishing and boating, there are plenty of land-based activities for people to enjoy as well. Here in Key Largo we have the Wild Bird Center and hospital where guests can take a guided tour of the bird center to learn about and view our native species of birds that were unable to be released after their rehabilitation.
There is no shortage of good food anywhere in the Florida Keys either. And as you may imagine, the bar and nightlife scene is fairly active, especially once you get into Key West. My favorite local food truck is Sea Side eatery. They are 100% vegan and absolutely amazing.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people that have helped along the way. My family and friends have been instrumental in my success and where I am today but there is one particular group of people that needs highlighted for this interview.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Key West, FL is the sole catalyst for Pawsitive Beginnings. On the grounds of the Monroe County Detention center in Key West sits an oasis of sorts. A animal farm that is home to over 150 creatures that have either been donated, abandoned or confiscated. This farm is run by the inmates under the supervision of Jeanne Selander. In 2017 I was allowed to start volunteering at the farm after Hurricane Irma and Jeanne and I quickly became great friends. Female volunteers were unheard of due to having direct contact with male inmates but I was graciously allowed to. In 2018, two foxes, Lana and Rocky were surrendered to the farm and although I had worked with many different species of animals throughout my life, fox were new to me. After months of forming a very sweet bond with these two foxes I started to learn more about the captive bred fox issue in the United States. I also learned that there was one fox rescue in particular, Save A Fox in Minnesota, who were able to legally obtain foxes from fur farms.
With all of this newfound information under my belt, I now felt I had a clear purpose of what I needed to do. In March 2020, Pawsitive Beginnings was founded on paper and in May 2020 I welcomed my first two foxes.
Had it not been for the unique opportunity to volunteer at the Sheriff’s farm, I would not be where I am today.
Photo of me on the bullhorn – photographer – Tamir Zomer