Kathy Marin attends International Humane Society Expo

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 14            April 17, 2003

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Kathy Marin of Saga Humane Society

Local San Pedrana Kathy Marin, owner of Pampered Paws Pet Grooming and Supply Store, has just returned from a three-day Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society International (HSUS/HSI) Exposition held April 3rd - 5th in Reno, Nevada, USA. Ms. Marin, a director for Saga Humane Society, not only represented the island humane society at the expo, but also actively participated in a week-long internship at the Portland Humane Society in Oregon, one of the largest animal shelters in the United States. Saga Humane Society participation in these activities was made possible through a HSUS/HSI "scholarship" program, which financed all of Ms. Marin's travel and accommodation expenses during her ten-day stay.

    During Ms. Marin's visit to Portland, she received hands-on training in various aspects of animal shelter operations, usually lasting nine hours per day. Ms. Marin experienced daily activities in several departments from receiving and fundraising, to adoption and foster programs. She also attended an all-day orientation for humane society volunteers. Ms. Marin described Oregon and Ambergris Caye as two completely different worlds when she explained, "The size of this (Portland) operation was amazing! Portland Humane Society functions with the help of 1000-plus volunteers and they continue to advertise for more. Saga Humane Society operates with less than ten very part-time volunteers."

    She explained that the internship at Portland Humane Society was a very educational and worthwhile experience. "I got to see first hand how a really successful animal shelter operates and all the work that goes into it," stated the Saga Director. "I look forward to the time when Saga Humane Society's dream of an animal shelter/education center becomes reality and I can put all this knowledge to practical use," she continued.

    Ms. Marin stated that the HSUS/HSI Expo was just as informative, as she attended several interesting and educational lectures. Workshop subjects ranged from a "just getting started" to an advanced level. Some of Ms. Marin's selections were "Starting with Nothing," "Fund-raising 101," "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Animal Care- " and "Standard Operating Procedures." Considered an international attendee, she spent the final day of the expo in an international forum with people from other countries such as Asia, Africa and Russia. Ms. Marin explained that the discussions centered on the difficulties and controversies that arise in different areas. She stated that in Africa they face adversity because they attempt to feed and care for animals when there are so many starving, suffering people in their country. Ms. Marin was also surprised to learn of a dilemma facing Asian humane society personnel - the use of dog and cat fur to manufacture coats for humans.

    Aside from scheduled workshop sessions, Ms. Marin gathered "loads" of educational material and made many valuable personal contacts. She explained that there were a lot of people willing to ensure that small operations such as Saga Humane Society "get moving in the right direction." Humane Society personnel accomplish this by attending expos and sharing their experiences so that others "don't need to re-invent the wheel," Ms. Marin concluded.   

    Ms. Marin plans to further her education again in July of this year, when she attends an Animal Behavior/Training course in New York. She explained, "The more I know and experience, the more I can help to make a positive change in the treatment and welfare of the animals in our community."

    On behalf of the community, The San Pedro Sun wishes Ms. Marin the best of luck with her future educational endeavors, so that someday all island animals may be "pampered paws".

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