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I Belong: Meet Flávia

Meet Flávia | Pet Stylist, Store 1325

I was born and raised in Brazil, and for as long as I can remember, something that I’ve been always certain of is that I was born to dedicate my life to animals. My first dream was to become a veterinary. I studied hard and tried getting into a college, but life was not easy, and after my fourth try, I decided that I couldn’t put my life on hold for another year for that dream.

I moved to the USA when I was 24, carrying a backpack full of hopes and dreams. I worked hard to survive as an immigrant. None of the jobs I had were related to animals, but in every single work experience, I left carrying memories and lessons, some good ones, and some of them not so much. In 2020, the pandemic then hit us all, and in consequence, I lost my job.

I was unemployed for over a year, and after submitting almost 40 job applications to many different companies and getting a no from all of them, I bought some clippers online and adventured myself into grooming my dog at home since money was tight and I couldn’t afford his grooming. And that was the day that I found out what my true passion was.

I went back to look for jobs and saw an opportunity to work as a bather for PetSmart in a store very close to my house. I was hired after a couple of months, and when no one else believed in my potential, they did, and for that, I will be forever grateful. In less than a year, I climbed my way up from a bather to a Professional Pet Stylist, and each day of my life, I wake up focused on becoming better than I was yesterday.

I have never felt so happy in a job before as I do now. This is the first company that sees potential in me and that truly makes me feel loved and part of a family. I am so proud of myself for having never given up on my dream to work with dogs, and looking back, I am thankful for every single “no” that life threw at me because all of them led me to PetSmart and living my happy dream.


The Belonging Program’s “I Belong” Series harnesses the power of empathy through storytelling. This series is intended to give associates a greater sense of understanding, a bridge to gain new perspective, and a way to build connection to each other.


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