Alumni Spotlight: Gail Miller Bisher
She doesn’t mind the barking. In fact, it’s followed her most of her career. For Gail
Miller Bisher (Grad A&S ’01), a lifelong love of dogs led her down a path that includes
looking out for the health and happiness of man’s best friend and to the “Super Bowl”
of the show dog world, the Westminster Kennel Club.
Beginning with her parents’ bearded collies when she was a kid, Bisher was never far
from a dog show. Her parents introduced her to the sport.
She went on to become the first junior handler to qualify for the Westminster Kennel
Club’s prestigious Junior Showmanship competition with a bearded collie, and the first
to place in that competition. By age 12, she had handled her first dog to a championship
While other college undergraduates were waiting tables, Bisher became a professional
handler of show dogs. She took clients’ dogs as well as her own to numerous awards,
including National Specialty Best of Breed and All-Breed Best in Show wins.
Bisher went on to become a dog show judge, certified canine fitness trainer and, most
recently, the first female analyst to call the Westminster Kennel Club show in 30
years. As the club’s director of communications, she follows the “Road to Westminster,”
conducting interviews, shooting video and running the club’s communications strategy.
The videos, she said, give viewers a sneak-peak not only of the sport but also of
the “players” before they set paw on the green carpet of Madison Square Garden.
“The Road to Westminster allows me to meet top dogs from across the U.S. and to learn
more about what makes them unique,” she said. “I get to talk with breeders and owners
about their passion, purebred dogs. The more breeds I meet and spend time with, the
more dogs I want to own!”
Bisher’s role blends her love of showing dogs, stints in advertising and the education
she received at Saint Louis University. The Arnold, Missouri, native had been working
at a St. Louis-based advertising firm when she was drawn to SLU’s graduate program
“I was looking for a graduate program that was close by, and I liked that it was in
the city,” Bisher said. “It felt more urban and in the middle of everything.”
Today, when not explaining the difference between an Afghan hound and a beagle, Bisher
is busy raising her daughter and working on another dog-related passion project: a
book about how to keep dogs healthy and in shape.
“Growing up in the sport of dogs, I’ve always physically conditioned, trained and
cared for a lot of canines,” she explained. “When I looked outside the dog-sports
world and saw that the pet population is falling into the same patterns as humans
regarding obesity, it occurred to me that I could help. If I can use my knowledge
based on 30-plus years of experience to help a pet lose weight and live a longer life,
— By Amelia Flood