Interview with an Owner Handler, Dr. Kate Bremser
I grew up in Kansas with English Springer Spaniels and moved to North Carolina as a teenager. I began competing with my dogs when in college and I have titled dogs in many different Performance venues. I began showing in Conformation in 2012 and have been avidly competing as a Breeder/Owner/Handler of my own dogs ever since, while being expertly mentored by Laureen Camisi of Sapphire Springers. I am also a graduate of the North Carolina State College of Veterinary medicine and own a small animal practice near Durham, North Carolina, where I live with my dogs and two horses.
Where do I live? How many years have I been an Owner Handler?
Dr. Kate Bremser: I live near Durham, North Carolina. I’ve been a Breeder/Owner/Handler for almost 10 years now.
How did I get my start in my breed? In the sport?
Dr. Kate Bremser: I grew up in Kansas and have had English Springer Spaniels my whole life. My first dogs were family hunting companions. I’ve been involved in Conformation for about 12 years.
Have I always loved to show dogs? Have I always been a dog person?
Dr. Kate Bremser: Yes! When I was a kid, I used to build little agility obstacles in my yard for my dogs. I didn’t start competing until I was a young adult, but I’ve always been a dog person.
Is there a story behind my decision to show my own dog?
Dr. Kate Bremser: I take a lot of pride in producing and showing my own dogs. The ring craft of Conformation can be very challenging to get right, but it’s been such a fun journey to take. I am competitive by nature, so I enjoy the pursuit of perfection!
What makes showing my own dog so special to me?
Dr. Kate Bremser: For me, it’s the relationship that it builds between you and your dog. When you’ve spent years raising, training, and showing a dog, you get to know each other inside and out.
In my opinion, is there a secret to having a great dog/handler partnership?
Dr. Kate Bremser: I think the most important thing to remember is to have grace; grace for yourself when you’re learning, grace for your dog when they may be not performing as expected, and grace for your fellow competitors. We all love to win and find success, but at the end of the day, our dogs will go home with us as our pets. Always treat them with love and respect.
Do I compete in the National Owner-Handled Series?
Dr. Kate Bremser: If so, for how many years? Yes! I love the NOHS and I’ve been competing in it with various dogs for nine years.
What goals did I set for myself and for my dog in 2022? What about 2023?
Dr. Kate Bremser: In 2022, I had some of what felt like lofty goals for “Firefly” and for myself. I wanted to compete with my bitch at Westminster for my first time, and she absolutely blew me away by going BOS in a power-packed lineup of beautiful Specials.
Then, I wanted to finish her GCHS and NOHS Platinum. She did these in the same weekend earlier this summer. Then, I wanted to win an OHBIS. We had multiple RBIS but never a Best. Now she is a multiple OHBIS winning dog! She even managed to accomplish all of my year’s goals by the end of August.
For 2023, I’d really like to attend some Specialties that I haven’t made it to yet, and maybe add BISS to her list of accomplishments? We will see what the year holds!
Am I going to Orlando? If so, what’s it like to have a top NOHS dog this year?
Yes, and I can’t wait. My breed has incredible depth of quality in owner-handled dogs, so it’s an honor to be a part of that crew. I do feel some nerves about competing in the Finals again this year, but mainly because I just want to present my best girl the very best that I can!
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences as an Owner Handler?
When I was first starting out in showing, there was so much to remember every time I went in the ring. I almost always left flustered and, to be honest, a mess! Heidi Huber used to tease me about being a “hot mess,” so we had a running joke for her to rate the temperature of my mess each time I showed. I knew I was finally getting it when she told me I wasn’t a mess at all that day! It always made us laugh. To this day, whenever I’ve gotten flustered in the ring, I wonder what temperature mess I was at that time. This gives me a smile and helps me calm down.