Puppy Program Coordinator
Penny Miller, an Ohio State University graduate with a Masters in Agriculture Education, spent 29 years teaching Agriculture Education for Toledo Public Schools. The Agriculture Program in Animal Sciences provided students with hands-on, project based learning. Students were involved with breeding, raising, training, and grooming all kinds of small animals. Although the first animal she trained was a guinea pig, Penny acquired a Sheltie puppy named Kelsey from a student during her first year of teaching. That Sheltie was the beginning of a journey that eventually lead her to ADAI. Kelsey and Penny immediately went to training classes and obedience competitions so she could teach her students how to do the same. The students were then able to compete at obedience competitions held by the State FFA as well as County and State 4-H. In 1993, Penny took in a puppy from an unwanted litter and the concept of a class puppy was developed. For several years, the students helped raise class puppies that would be adopted out, including one for Leader Dogs for the Blind. Penny began volunteering as a foster for ADAI in 2010, incorporating her foster dogs into the class puppy concept and daily classroom activities. It was a win-win situation for the dogs and the students. In addition to their service dog training, the dogs were used to teach the students so many other skills in handling, restraint, medical procedures, grooming techniques, and even anatomy. Raising a service dogs was very special for the students. Penny retired from teaching in 2015. As luck would have it, her foster dog, Kinsey, was given the green light to become part of ADAI’s breeding program. Penny’s first year of retirement was spent raising 2 litters of service dog puppies. The following year ADAI employed her as Whelping Assistant/Foster Recruiter.
Penny lives in Sylvania, Ohio and has 2 daughters, 4 grandchildren, a cat named Maggie and an aquarium full of guppies and cherry shrimp. She enjoys gardening, camping, and traveling.