Our Community - Katia Marin - "Pampering Pets in Paradise"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 4            January 31, 2002

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Katia Marin

The presence of a humane society on the island has increased community awareness of the domestic animals' (dogs and cats) need to rely on humans for help. Knowing that they cannot care for themselves alone, some residents have developed a different, more humane attitude towards their pets and the stray animal population of the island. This knowledge also created a greater need for pet services and supplies. Grasping this opportunity to open a pet grooming shop in San Pedro was a young entrepreneur who we are pleased to introduce this week - Katia Marin. 

    Katia's birth on August 15th, 1975 was cause for much celebration for her parents Enda and Wilber Marin, and brothers David and Esteban Marin. Katia enjoyed a happy childhood surrounded by her close-knit family. She attended San Pedro Roman Catholic School and San Pedro High School where she excelled in her studies as well as sports; softball in particular. Graduating as a commercial student from San Pedro High School in 1992, Katia first went to work as a front desk agent for Paradise Resort Hotel. Her friendly disposition and knowledge of the island and its surroundings made her an asset to the resort and after four years she was promoted to Front Desk Supervisor and head of the Purchasing Department. Even with these added responsibilities on her shoulders, Katia was able to live up to her manager's expectations, and proved to be a key element in the successful operation of the resort over the next four and a half years.

    Throughout her employment at Paradise Hotel, Katia also concentrated on one of her hidden passions - animal care. Since she was a young child, Katia remembers being fond of animals; dogs in particular, and dreamed of one day working with them. Finding that she could achieve this knowledge through a correspondence course, Katia enrolled in an Animal Science course (veterinary assistant) with International Correspondence Schools in 1994. Having completed this, she enrolled in a photography course next, receiving her certificate in 1996.

    Accomplishing this first step, Katia felt the need for hands-on training to complement her correspondence classes. To achieve this, she moved to Houston, Texas, USA last February. Once there, she attended the Golden Paws School of Dog Styling. For fourteen weeks, Katia dedicated herself to daily classes that included grooming techniques for all breeds of dogs and cats. Fulfilling the required 300 hours, the academy presented Katia with her diploma, certifying her as a professional groomer and veterinary assistant. During her stay in the US she also completed an additional photography course; adding to the services Katia can now provide if needed. As if all this was not enough to accomplish, Katia also held down a weekend job at a pet shop, putting her grooming skills to the test. Feeling confident with her newly acquired abilities, Katia decided it was time to move back home to San Pedro.

    On September 24th, 2001 Katia opened Pampered Paws, the first pet grooming shop in San Pedro. "One of the main reasons for opening this business was that I felt there was a great need for something like this on the island. Partly, this is due to the amount of foreigners now residing full and part-time on Ambergris Caye who bring their animals to live with them and are accustomed to this type of service being available. Also, the residents of San Pedro have come a long way when it comes to caring for their pets. Today, they care for them as if they were part of the family. Some even spoil them. I know this feeling. For six years I have spoiled my Chihuahua, Babe," commented Ms. Marin. In addition to the grooming service and pet supplies she offers at Pampered Paws, Katia is now offering pet "day care" services and overnight boarding. She also devotes some of her spare time to SAGA, the island's humane society, in hopes of aiding their efforts to eliminate the stray dog and cat population of the island.

    Katia concluded that, although Pampered Paws has brought her a lot of satisfaction, she also hopes to pursue a photography career in the near future. Black and white photography fascinates her and she hopes to one day be able to exhibit some of her work.

    Ms. Katia Marin has provided a unique and much needed business in San Pedro, one that has been embraced by all animal lovers. By pursuing her dreams she has been able to keep "La Isla's" furry friends "muy Bonitos."

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