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Pampering Pets on Ambergris Caye

Posted by Valeria Espinoza on Oct 5, 2011 9:20:15 AM
Valeria Espinoza

One of our recent posts gave kudos to Saga Humane Society for the wonderful job they do, taking care of Ambergris Caye’s abandoned and disenfranchised pets and stray animals.  Today we’ll clue you in on where the island’s residents and expats go to meet their basic pet needs. With the many pets on the island, there is a need for dog walking, grooming, training, daycare, boarding, and pet supply services. Visitors thinking of moving to Ambergris Caye often ask if these services are available on our small island.

So today I’d like to tell you about Pampered Paws.  It’s the one and only pet business on the island. Fortunately, our friends at Pampered Paws have been doing a great job catering to the needs of the island’s furry friends, and their doting owners.

When Mike and I first visited San Pedro in 1999 there was not a veterinary clinic. Nor was there any type of pet store. The Saga Humane Society was founded in 1999 (click here to read the Saga Humane Society post…). Katia Marin was one of their first volunteers. She’s been on Saga’s Board of Directors for over 10 years.  She is also the Animal Welfare Director and an Animal Control Officer for San Pedro Town.

The History of Pampered Paws

Pampered Paws in San Pedro Town

It all started in 1994, when Kathy was working a fulltime job, but decided to take an I.C.S. Correspondence course in Animal Science. Kathie’s a San Pedrana who had always been interested in animals. In 2001, she became a Certified Dog Groomer at Golden Paws Dog Grooming School in Houston, Texas. She later returned again to the U.S.A., in New York, to earn her Master Dog Trainer Certificate. She received this certificate at Antony Jerome's School of Dog Training and Career Inc. The course also certified her as a dog behavior specialist.

At that point Kathy was ready. In 2001 she opened Pampered Paws, the first pet business on this island. On September 24th Pampered Paws celebrated their 10th anniversary. In appreciation for 10 years of successful business, and outstanding community support, Pampered Paws initiated a special competition. They invited all pet owners to submit amusing pet videos. They they awarded a selection of prizes for the best videos.  Click here to watch the winning video of Snowy and Prince surfing off the beach of San Pedro…

Kathy Walks Local Dogs

Today, Pampered Paws is the biggest, most successful pet supply and service center on the island.  Click here to learn more about Pampered Paws... They offer an array of products and services to meet all the island’s pet needs, especially for dogs.  So if you are planning to move to Ambergris Caye, you can feel more comfortable about bringing your pet with you. Once you move here, you’ll come to appreciate the warm, friendly care Pampered Paws will provide for your pet.

And it’s good to know that Kathy is continuing her education by attending workshops and seminars all across the U.S. This year, she attended the Caribbean Animal Welfare Conference in Puerto Rico, which brought together animal welfare groups from across the Caribbean for 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.

Katia and Cesar Milan at a Conference

In early 2011, Kathy became a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and attended her first IACP conference in San Diego, which had great speakers like Joel Silverman, Jeff King and main speaker Cesar Millan, the 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.

Our Experience with Pampered Paws

During the last 10 years Mike and I have relied upon Kathy and her committed team. They help us by walking and caring for our dogs when we travel. We also have Pampered Paws walk our dogs twice a  week, mainly for socialization. We pop into Pampered Paws whenever we need basic pet supplies.

Tashi Enjoys a Walk on Ambergris Caye Beach

We moved Tashi, our 13 year old Schipperke, to the island in 2006. Given her age, it was a traumatic move, even though she was still healthy at the time. It was a great relief to know that we could trust Kathy and her team to care for Tashi and Ziggy when we traveled. Tashi enjoyed her retirement here on the island. She lived another 2 ½ years before she moved on… But while Tashi was with us, we boarded her with Pampered Paws whenever we traveled.

Now we have two Belizean pot lickers - Ziggy and A.C.  We walk Ziggy and A.C. on the beach. But we decided that they needed some doggie socialization and training. A.C. is at times skittish around other dogs. So we decided they would benefit from group dog walks with David, Kathy’s most recognized dog walker. David is often referred to as the “dog whisperer” of Ambergris Caye.  He’s not what you would call a big guy.  So it always tickles me to see him walking the beach, surrounded by five or more large dogs, all well behaved and firmly under his spell.

Tashi and Ziggy on a Beach Walk

A.C. and Ziggy are barely recognizable when they’re walking with David. They don’t attempt to pull any funny business… No whining, barking, or pulling… They walk calmly in formation, alongside the other dogs… And they get along fine with the rest of the pack.  David regularly drops all of their leashes, tells them to stay, and takes a break. And they stay right there, never moving! I do ask David for advice on how to manage their less than desirable habits. But, they’ve figured out that I’m a bit of a pushover…

When we travel we rely upon Kathy and her team to care for A.C. and Ziggy. They show up as expected, feed and water our dogs, take them for walks, give them baths, and whatever else is needed. They recently added a larger boarding facility at their shop. So, now we’ll have the option of boarding 70 pound Ziggy, too, whenever we leave.

So, if you’re thinking of moving to Ambergris Caye with your best furry friend, be sure to check out Pampered Paws and the Saga Humane Society.

Come visit for one of our Chill Weekends and we'll be sure to point out where Pampered Paws, and Saga Humane Society are located, during our island tour. Â For more information, or to sign up on line, click here...

Topics: Social Responsibility

Valeria Espinoza

Written by Valeria Espinoza