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2022 Canine Health Summit

Panel: Shaping the future together: How Breeders Can Help Scientists Better Understand Basic Breed Biology

Thurs, April 28, 2022 | 1:30 PM ET

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Gail Miller Bisher

Director of Communications, The Westminster Kennel Club (moderator)

Lisa Peterson

Senior Content Strategist (Breeder/Veterinarian), Embark Veterinary

Larry Letsche, DVM

Zachary Lounsberry

Product Analyst, Embark Veterinary

Gail Miller Bisher has lifelong experience in dog sports as a handler and trainer of top-winning dogs. Today, she serves as the Westminster Kennel Club’s director of communications, spokesperson, and on-air analyst for its iconic New York dog show on FOX and FS1. 

A second-generation dog fancier, Gail stepped into the dog show ring at 10-years-old and never looked back. Two years later she handled her first dog to its championship. Gail was the first junior handler to qualify for the Westminster Kennel Club’s famed Junior Showmanship competition with a Bearded Collie and the first to place, capturing second. Early in her professional handling career, she earned best of breed and best of opposite sex awards at national specialties and all-breed best in show wins and piloted nationally top-ranked dogs.

Over the years, she has trained and handled dogs to their titles in conformation, obedience, rally, advanced CGC, and earthdog. Gail has owned and loved Bearded Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, smooth and longhaired miniature Dachshunds, and West Highland White Terriers. A Vizsla and English Cocker Spaniel are her current companions. She is an AKC-licensed dog show judge, officiated at the 2015 Bearded Collie National Specialty, and is a member of the Bearded Collie Club of America, Dachshund Club of America, Morris & Essex Kennel Club, Greenwich Kennel Club, English Cocker Spaniel Club of America, and the Dog Writers Association of America.

A seasoned advertising, marketing, and public relations professional, Gail has more than a decade of experience in marketing, brand development, content creation, and media relations with such organizations as the American Kennel Club and Webvet.com. She also served as an on-air representative appearing on national media outlets and as a sideline reporter for televised dog show events.

An award-winning advertising broadcast producer, Gail has Clio, Mobius, and Cannes shortlist wins to her credit. She holds a Master of Arts in Communications from St. Louis University, is a former ACE-certified personal trainer, and created the Super Fit Fido Club to educate pet dog owners about the importance of canine fitness.

Over the years, she has trained and handled dogs to their titles in conformation, obedience, rally, advanced CGC, and earthdog. Miller Bisher has owned and loved Bearded Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, smooth and longhaired miniature Dachshunds, and West Highland White Terriers. A Vizsla and English Cocker Spaniel are her current companions. 

Miller Bisher is an AKC-licensed dog show judge, officiated at the 2015 Bearded Collie National Specialty, and is a member of the Bearded Collie Club of America, Dachshund Club of America, Morris & Essex Kennel Club, Greenwich Kennel Club, English Cocker Spaniel Club of America, and the Dog Writers Association of America.

An award-winning advertising broadcast producer, Gail has Clio, Mobius, and Cannes shortlist wins to her credit. She holds a Master of Arts in Communications from St. Louis University, is a former ACE-certified personal trainer, and created the Super Fit Fido Club to educate pet dog owners about the importance of canine fitness.

Award-winning writer, journalist, and podcast host, Lisa Peterson, is a canine subject matter expert and Senior Content Strategist, Breeder/Veterinarian at Embark Veterinary. She served as the American Kennel Club director of communications and club communications for 10 years before becoming a Westminster Kennel Club public relations consultant from 2016 to 2021. Lisa began owning, breeding, and handling Norwegian Elkhounds more than 35 years ago, and today is an AKC judge and AKC Breeder of Merit. She also served as the AKC Delegate for the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America as well as on the club’s Canine Health and Research Committee. 

As AKC national spokesperson, Lisa made hundreds of regular guest appearances on television and radio including Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, Today, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, Martha Stewart Living, Fox Business, GMA Radio, and NPR. Her canine expertise has been quoted in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Martha Stewart Living Magazine, Men’s Health, and Entertainment Weekly. 

Lisa’s work appeared in USA Today, Foxnews.com, Marthastewartliving.com, Savingplaces.org, Connecticut Magazine, The News-Times, The Newtown Bee, The New Haven Register, The Hour, AKC Gazette, Connecticut Horse Magazine, and AKC Family Dog. Since 2000, Peterson has penned many syndicated advice columns including Lisa’s Living with Dogs and Lisa Unleashed. She blogs about horses, hounds, and history at Lisaunleashed.com and is a member of the Author’s Guild and the Dog Writer’s Association of America.

Lisa bred generations of champion dogs, including multiple-specialty best in show winners and top awards at national specialties in the U.S. and Canada. They have been featured in Sports Illustrated, New York Dog, akc.org, and in The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show telecast ads. She is president of the Garden State Norwegian Elkhound Club, a member of the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America, and the Newtown Kennel Club. 

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science/journalism from the University of Bridgeport, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative and professional writing from Western Connecticut State University.

Larry Letsche, D.V.M. is a small animal veterinarian at Remrock Farms Veterinary Services in Plymouth, Michigan. Dr. Letsche graduated with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University in 1984. He has a special interest in small animal reproduction and puppy wellness. He enjoys working with a vast variety of breeders. Dr. Letsche is also involved in organized veterinary medicine formerly serving on the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine and currently serving on the board of the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association.  

He, along with his wife Lorrie Carlton, actively breed and show Bichon Frise under the kennel name of Belle Creek. Many of their Bichons have been Best in Show, Best in Specialty and National Specialty winners. Their top achievement of their Bichon Frise is “Flynn” aka GCHP Belle Creek’s All I Care About is Love. Flynn is the Best in Show Winner at the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the Reserve Best In Show winner at the 2016 AKC National Championship. They had the pleasure of showing “Rose” the Borzoi who won the Hound Group at the 1993 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. They have had the opportunity to finish dogs from all AKC groups. 

When not working and showing dogs, Dr. Letsche enjoys traveling and taking wildlife and nature photos.

Since even before earning a Master’s degree in biology in 2012, Zach Lounsberry has been in the population genetics/genomics space throughout his entire career. Starting in wildlife genetics at UC Davis, Zach’s focus as a scientist shifted over the past decade to wild canids and eventually to their domesticated relatives, dogs. He started working with Embark as a bioinformatics research scientist but quickly became interested in making sure that dog owners’ and breeders’ experiences were being leveraged to help drive changes to the scientific side of the product. He has since transitioned into his current role as a Product Analyst to help make sure that customers’ perspectives were always at the forefront of the conversations between the Science and Product teams at Embark, primarily because the company’s mission only makes sense in light of how useful it is to our research partners (you!).

2022 Canine Health Summit Sessions