When Maurice came into my life almost two years ago, I had a fairly good idea of how much I would adore him. However, I wasn’t fully prepared for how my unconditional love for him would change me completely. I grew up with small pets like fish, guinea pigs, and hamsters, they were cute of course but nothing compares to the love that comes into your life with a larger pet. To this point, my first “grown up” pet was my cat, Coco, who will be 10 this year. She’s been by my side in 6 different homes and 2 different countries. She is my tiny sidekick who lives life on her own terms.

When we added Maurice to the mix, everything changed. Coco continued to do her own thing, being the independent woman that she is. But my days and nights became about him - enduring those first puppy weeks of hardly any sleep, constantly cleaning up his many potty attempts all throughout the house, and the training, so much training! Yes, it was hard work but the first time he stared into my eyes I knew he was the best friend I had been waiting for my whole life. I’d describe Maurice as a very typical Golden Retriever; loyal to his core, has more love to give than I have known possible in any being, loves food, hates heat, thinks he can run miles, but really prefers a quick 10m sprint followed by a long rest! He sheds his white hairs all over our apartment, he licks everything, doesn’t allow me to go to the bathroom unattended and I wouldn’t change a single thing about him.

I grew up an only child (I have an older sister who had left home by the time I came into the world) and the only people I have ever cried over when separated for extended periods of time have been my parents. This all changed when I had to leave Maurice for the first time for 2 weeks -  I was beside myself! The excitement of traveling back home to the UK to compete in the GB Marathon Olympic trials was not enough to quell my distress at missing my 10 month old puppy, my baby. I think I cried all the way to the airport, and you know I don’t need to tell you about our reunion which ended up being delayed due to unforeseen circumstances! I’ve read that over 70% of U.S. households have at least one pet and they regard them as a member of the family. This stat doesn’t shock me.

Having Maurice in my life has allowed me to grow in many ways. I am one of the 87% of the population who report getting some type of mental or physical health benefits from their pets. Going on my mental health walks is now done in the best company and with multiple hugs along the way. Maurice’s friendly nature has led these walks to be more social, interacting with complete strangers for fleeting moments which often enrich my day. I would go above and beyond to provide Maurice with the best life, which is why I ensure his health is top priority. Wagmo provides me the peace of mind and support to do this. I’m able to control what I can control so Maurice and I can live life to the fullest!