Meet The Pros: Maria Badamo, Champion Agility Trainer & Veterinarian
Maria Badamo, DVM is a champion agility trainer and veterinarian from Dallas, Texas. Together with her partner, PJ, they train and compete with their dogs Kenobi and Gromit in both Agility and Diving competitions. In 2017, Kenobi was the North American Dock Diving #1 ranked dog for distance. And just this past year, he won the IDC Large Dog Agility National Championship and was selected to represent team USA at the 2020 IFCS World Agility Championship.
Why did you become a veterinarian?
Ever since I was about five years old, I knew I wanted to be a Veterinarian. Even when times were rough and this outcome seemed implausible, there was always a force driving me towards this goal. I just really enjoy spending time with and taking care of animals, especially dogs.
How did you get started in canine athletics?
Well, it all started In 2007. I had just come home from a vacation and my pet sitter felt very strongly that my little Pomeranian, Babaghanoush, would have fun taking agility classes. She told me there was a training facility only 10 minutes from where I lived. Babaghanoush was a natural and quickly advanced from novice to master level. He definitely gave me the agility bug.
How did you go from there to competing at the top levels with Gromit and Kenobi?
I had always wanted a Border Collie, but due to being in college for so long, I didn’t have the ability until after I graduated. Then, along came Gromit! I quickly learned that Gromit is something special. He is so incredibly smart and made training so much fun. He is a two-time AKC National Agility Champion and World Team Competitor representing team USA in Spain in 2017 at the IFCS World Agility Championships. He definitely gave me the inspiration and motivation for international competitions.
Next came Kenobi who has taken that motivation to the next level making his first international team at the age of 2!
What makes Kenobi so exceptional?
Kenobi is my triple threat. He’s got the body, the brains and the biddability that makes him the complete package in a sporting dog.
What do your dogs mean to you?
My dogs mean the world to me. We don’t have kids, so they are my babies! The connection I have with Kenobi particularly is really special to me. He is my joy in life, my family, and my heart. I only want the very best for him.
Why do you recommend Purina® Pro Plan® for athletic dogs like yours?
The protein to fat ratio is ideal for athletic sporting dogs, and it keeps Kenobi at optimal performance condition. All of my dogs have thrived in multiple different sporting endeavors while on Pro Plan Sport. And they love it!
What advice would you give to others looking to reach your level of success?
Just start with a local weekly class… and see where it takes you.
Maria chooses Purina Pro Plan Sport 30/20 for Gromit and Kenobi.