Meet the Handlers' Assistants: Victoria Beaman
Meet Victoria Beaman, a dog handler's assistant, and learn about her background in life and dogs.
Allan Reznik |
Posted: Mar 14, 2014 8 a.m. PST
Our sport is rich in noble traditions. Among the strongest is that of hard-working assistants apprenticing for successful professional handlers in the fancy. Anyone with stars in their eyes about a life of glamour is quickly disabused of those notions when they learn that the dogs always come first for top handlers and that partying is never a job perk. Many handlers' assistants aspire to stay in the sport and strike out on their own one day. Others are happy to remain exhibitors while pursuing other career paths. We reached out to handlers' assistants to get better acquainted. — Allan Reznik
- Briefly tell us about your background, including your age, where you grew up, if you came from a doggy family and if you have siblings who also show dogs.
- If you didn't come from a family that showed dogs, where did your interest begin?
- What handlers have you worked for in the past, and for whom are you working now?
- Is this a live-in position, or do you live elsewhere during the week?
- What are some of the best things about being a handler's assistant?
- What has been the most memorable moment in your dog-showing career?
- What was the greatest disappointment?
- How could the sport be improved?
- What's the biggest misconception about professional handlers?
- Is your goal to go out on your own and become a full-time professional handler one day?
Assistant for Brian Livingston
- I am 21-year-old Victoria Beaman. I was born and raised in Colorado and am the only person in my family who shows dogs.
- When I was 8 years old, I acquired my first show dog and the love of my life, an Australian Shepherd named Kodi. When I was younger I was a very shy and reserved child with few friends, so my parents thought getting me a dog would give me a source of companionship. Kodi was sold to me as a show-quality dog, and his breeder took me under her wing instantly. From that point on I have been in love with this sport.
- Living in Colorado, I worked for Kathryn Arseneau. Currently I work for Brian Livingston in Texas. I am forever inspired and grateful for the greatness they both have pushed me to (eventually) achieve.
- This is a live-in position.
- We are given amazing dogs and are able to condition, groom and show them while continually growing as successful handlers in this sport. I am able to constantly learn and work on clientele relationships to eventually gather the tools to build a successful and lasting business. I am very fortunate to be working for Brian right now because not only do I get ring time, but I get ring time with great dogs. The exposure that he has given will be something that helps me for the entirety of my career.
- When I first started working for Brian, there was a dog that was scared of showing and would drop his tail as soon as he entered the ring. He was my "project" dog. Six months after we started, with countless times of dropping his tail and being timid, he went Reserve Best in Show and was ebullient. I have never been so satisfied, nor will I forget that moment. Ever.
- I know I am hard to work with, that I sometimes have unrealistic expectations or have my passion interfere with the pragmatism that is often required. That being said, I am often disappointed by the lack of tenacity in the young people of this sport. I just feel like the Zeitgeist is fame more than knowledge, and I disagree with that.
- The youth of the sport taking the hand of the respected and perpetuating the knowledge and art. I also find the lack of camaraderie disheartening and wish that loyalty and friendship were easier to come across.
- This is just their job. But it isn't. They obviously want to see their dogs' careers take off. They put in time, energy, blood, sweat and tears, and grow attached to these face-licking finger-biters. They love them.
- Yes. But I have so much more to learn and time to put in before I can even fathom being on my own.
- More Handlers' Assistants -
From the 2014 Annual issue of Dogs in Review magazine. Subscribe to receive 12 months of Dogs in Review magazine.
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