Who Is Patricia Gail Burnham?

by Marcia Herman

Gail and Kira portrait cropped (2)

Gail and Kira (of the Kira Series)

Gail Burnham adopted her first Greyhound from the Sacramento SPCA in 1968. He was a middle-aged coursing dog and the best sales dog for his breed that one could imagine. She acquired her first show bred Greyhounds in 1973. Gail said that back then there was no such thing as Greyhound adoption. The racing people were still telling people that Greyhounds didn’t make good pets and killing their surplus dogs.

Gail started writing about obedience training Greyhounds in 1976. Her first two Greyhound puppies became DC Midnight Shadow Traveler UDTX and his sister DC California Sunshine Traveler UDT, LCM. Tiger was the first CH. UDT and the first TDX Greyhound and Sunny was the first Lure Courser of Merit Greyhound.

Gail wrote hundreds of magazine articles, plus two dog training books illustrated with Greyhounds, Playtraining Your Dog in 1981 and Treats, Play, Love: Make Dog Training Fun For You and Your Best Friend in 2008. She contributed regularly to Celebrating Greyhounds the first five years, most notably the Kira series which was a finalist in the Dog Writer’s Association writing contest. She won a DWAA award for the poem, The Red Bitch’s Hunt, which was part of a series of poems about Coventry and the Red Bitch. Currently she is retired, still writing about dogs, and living with the descendants of the original Tiger.

She and several friends, who also show and course their Greyhounds, share puppies from a litter, so that when one of them has old dogs, they all have old dogs. Then whomever has the best bitch breeds a litter and those puppies are shared among the friends as replacements. The current youngsters are the sixth generation of dual champions down from Tiger in almost forty years. He had a great personality, and temperament is inherited.

Gail is a judge for Conformation, Obedience, Tracking, and Lure Coursing, and is still training Greyhounds for all these events. She has written hundreds of magazine articles, poems, and has taken many photographs for greyhound calendars. She may be best known for her two dog training books illustrated with greyhounds: the still-in-print book Playtraining Your Dog (1981) and Treats, Play, Love: Make Dog Training Fun For You and Your Best Friend in 2008.

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