Tracey Watt, 44, from the Isle of Man has lost five stone, dropping five dress sizes with the help of her Labrador Mojo, who has also lost 3.5kg. The pair have won the Kennel Club's Get Fit With Fido's Slimmer of the Year competition following their successful weight loss.
It wasn't until Tracey started dog agility training with her new puppy, Mojo that she was shocked to realise she was unable to run for short periods of time with Mojo without getting out of breath. Tracey decided enough was enough, and that she and Mojo could do with losing some weight and getting into shape.
Since then, Tracey has gone from 16 stone 8 pounds and a size 22, to 11 stone 7.5 pounds and a size 12. When Mojo and Tracey first started training in agility, Mojo weighed 28kg, but over the course of their weight loss journey together, and after recovering from a shoulder injury last year, six year-old Mojo has lost 3.5kg and slimmed down to 24.5kg. Both of them are the lightest they've ever been.
Tracey, with the help of Mojo, has put all her time and energy into slimming down. She signed up to an online diet website as she couldn't face going to a class and decided to focus on her diet coupled with going on long walks with Mojo, agility training, setting them both targets and completing endurance walks. Mojo was Tracey's inspiration through their journey and without the help of Mojo, Tracey admits she would have never lost the weight.
In June last year, Tracey took part in the 24 hour Parish Walk endurance walk on the Isle of Man which consisted of walking through each parish on the island and up multiple steep hills. Tracey set herself the goal of getting to Peel Parish, which is 32.5 miles and she completed it in nine hours. To hit this target, she practiced with 10-19 mile walks from January to June, as well as going on daily dog walks with Mojo.
Tracey first met Mojo in 2010 when her beloved Border Collie, 15 year-old Ben, lost the use of his hind legs. She knew he didn't have long left, which devastated her. Tracey knew she couldn't face getting another Border Collie as it would remind her of Ben, so she and her husband, Simon decided to look at Labrador puppies after looking after Simon's dad's Labs on previous occasions. When they went to visit the litter, Mojo was the only boy and he automatically gravitated to Tracey. They have been inseparable ever since.
In January this year, Tracey and Simon welcomed a new member into the family, a working Cocker, Vinny. Tracey is already planning to train Vinny in agility after puppy classes so that Vinny and Mojo can compete alongside her to keep the whole family fit and healthy.
Tracey said of her tremendous success: "I am delighted to have been chosen as the Get Fit With Fido Slimmer of the Year. I hope that my story will inspire others to take that first step. Without Mojo there's no way I would have lost the weight - he was my inspiration whenever I felt like giving up. I wanted both of us to be able to compete in agility when happy and healthy, and now we've finally achieved that goal it feels fantastic.
Tracey Watt before her weight transformation.
"Sometimes I see myself in the mirror and think who is that? It has given me so much more confidence. I would like to try and lose a little more, but for me now it's about being comfortable with my weight and keeping fit to keep up with Mojo and our new addition Vinny. We're so excited about our prize, we can finally relax after reaching our goal!"
Tracey and Mojo's prize for winning the Get Fit With Fido Slimmer of the Year challenge is a night's stay in luxury Yorkshire retreat, the Raithwaite Estate, including spa treatments for them both, as well as tickets to Crufts 2017 and Eukanuba Discover Dogs 2016.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: "Congratulations to Tracey for losing such an incredible amount of weight with the help of Mojo. They make a fantastic team and are an inspiration to everyone.
"We launched our Get Fit With Fido campaign to help tackle the growing obesity problem in both dogs and humans. It's important for both dogs and their owners to keep fit and healthy and there are many fun and interesting ways of doing this, either through taking part in canine activities such as agility or by following our Get Fit With Fido initiative for tips and advice on starting your weight loss journey."
This year's Get Fit With Fido Slimmer of the Year competition is now open to all dog owners wanting to lose weight and stay fit. The prize for the winner includes a one night stay at luxury Lake District dog-friendly hotel Overwater Hall for two people and their dog, including breakfast for the owners and dog biscuits for their four-legged friend, as well as tickets to Crufts and Eukanuba Discover Dogs.
The launch of this year's Get Fit With Fido Slimmer of the Year competition coincides with the Forestry Commission England's Walk Your Dog Week (Monday 25th April-Sunday 1st May) which also aims to improve the well-being of both owner and pet by encouraging people to get outside, walking their dog every day.