Back in 2001, Katia Marin achieved her dream by opening her own business. Pampered Paws opened its doors to the people of San Pedro for better quality of care and products to pamper your pet.
What started as a small grooming business that only offered food, supplies, and other pet items, gradually expanded as Katia realized the demand for boarding, daycare, and dog training.
Always interested in the field of animals, Kathy took an I.C.S. correspondence course in Animal Science in 1994. In 2001, she became a Certified Dog Groomer at Golden Paws Dog Grooming School in Houston, Texas. She later returned to the U.S. and got her Master Dog Trainer Certificate at Anthony Jerone’s School of Dog Training and Career Inc. in New York. This course certified her as a dog behavior specialist.
Kathy works tirelessly to help promote the well-being of all animals on the island as Animal Welfare Director and Animal Control Officer at SAGA Humane Society, and has been on the Board of Directors for over 10 years.
In early 2011, Kathy became a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and attended her first conference in San Diego, which had great speakers like Joel Silverman, Jeff King and main speaker Cesar Milan, the world renowned Dog Whisperer. The conference focused on topics of Dog Training and Behavior with a series of workshops and seminars led by experts in the field. Katia also had the great opportunity of volunteering a couple of days at Best Friends Animal Society, Dog Town.
Furthermore, Katia has been attending workshops and seminars all across the U.S. In 2013, she attended the Caribbean Animal Welfare Conference in Puerto Rico, which brought together animal welfare groups from across the Caribbean for a training and networking event. She also attended the Animal Expo in Orlando, which offered workshops and educational sessions concerning everything from shelter operations and executive leadership to emergency services and equine protection.
In 2014, Kathy continued her education with a trip to Cesar Milan’s Dog Psychology Center for the Fundamentals of Dog Behavior and Training course, and got to shadow this well-known trainer. After training with Cesar she visiting Heather Beck’s facility K9 Lifeline in Utah, and attended the 3D Workshop (Dealing with Difficult Dogs).
2015 brought an opportunity to join a training course on a cruise ship called Education at Sea. This included some classes on the ship, as well as visiting Humane Societies while at port in Mexico, Honduras, and right here at SAGA (Belize).
Every day brings opportunity to learn from dogs, and Kathy’s education continues with training courses in the United States at least twice a year.
Minor Perez is originally from Orange Walk Town. After finishing his Associate’s Degree, he moved to the island and started working at Pampered Paws in 2011. He began as a pet groomer and perfected the skill. Having a way with animals, Minor also learned the skill of the pack walk and handling difficult dogs. After a few years of experience, he has become manager of the shop. Minor knows all aspects of day-to-day operations, so if you have any questions, he will know the answer!
Jose Palma started working at Pampered Paws in August 2013 as a dog walker and has now perfected his skill in the pack walk. Born on the main land in Cayo, Jose moved to the island after high school and got his first job with us. He is amazing with the dogs, and has learned basic grooming skills. With all the hands on training, he has learned to deal with any difficult dog and has basic dog training skills. Keep an eye out for him walking along with six or more dogs.
Born in Corozal, Allen Soto moved to Ambergris Caye in 2002. His love for animals drove him to seek a job working with Pampered Paws in January 2006. Allen started as an assistant groomer, and has now mastered the skill. He is also the artist who drew the pictures you see hanging in the shop. Allen takes his artistic abilities to the grooming area, and can create any cut you wish on your dog or cat. With over 10 years of grooming experience and dog handling, Allen says there is no pet he can’t groom.
Heather Smith moved to Ambergris Caye from the U.S. in September 2012. After going on a few business ventures, she realized her dream of working with animals by joining Pampered Paws in November, 2014.
Among many other trades, Heather has experience in grooming, and has worked under a veterinarian. Under Kathy’s supervision and guidance, she hopes to become a certified trainer.
Heather is an active SAGA volunteer, hoping to make the island a better place for her four legged friends.