Mission Statement

The founders of IDEA Service Dogs believe that many physically challenged people can achieve improved quality of life through the addition of a service dog, which they raise and train themselves through a comprehensive program designed specifically for their needs.


Maureen Bennett and retired co-founder Angela Ross bring a combined fifteen years of experience in service dog training to the program.  Their experience includes puppy-raising for a nationally known assistance dog school, and graduation from programs where the disabled train their own service dog.  Additionally, Ms. Bennett has served on the Board of Directors for three non-profit corporations in the assistance dog field.  Many of our board members have personal experience with the challenges of daily living of the physically disabled.

As the school has grown, we have been fortunate to add to our volunteer staff.  We now have consulting experts from the fields of information technology, force-free dog training, marketing and other critical areas to help us better reach and serve the disabled community.

Other board members bring experience in dog breeding, dog training, organizational skills, financial management, computer and information systems as well as many other areas of significant value to the school.

Board of Directors (and their dogs)

Maureen Bennett
Maureen BennettPresident
Maureen is married and has two grown stepsons. The Bennetts’ provided a home to a rescue Golden Retriever with limited vision who is also a cancer survivor.  Maureen’s service-dog-in-training, “Sophie” is also a Golden. Ms. Bennett’s disabilities took her from a corporate executive career to her current passion of assistance dog training and disability rights.
Sharon Owsley
Sharon OwsleyVice-President of Training
Sharon is married with three grown children. She is an experienced and ethical dog breeder and has trained pet dogs for many years. While no longer breeding Labrador retrievers, she has attended ISD’s training classes for multiple years and contributes both dog-handling expertise and program management.

Karen Brookman
Karen BrookmanVice-President and Secretary
Karen and her husband are successful business owners in the DFW Metroplex, with two grown children and several grandchildren in the area. Karen has been a lifelong dog owner and provided homes to many rescued canines. She has been a volunteer with ISD since the school’s very early days and helps with dog training and handling, technical and financial management, correspondence and publications.
Barb Gadola
Barb GadolaDirector
Barb is a professional dog trainer with a special interest in service dog work. With a background in education and psychology, she’s been training dogs and their people since 1989. Barb is the owner of multiple dogs, chickens, ducks and alpacas. In her spare time, she spins alpaca fleece and dog hair into yarn.
Jerry Bennett
Jerry BennettDirector
Besides providing support and encouragement to our President, Jerry is a retired sales professional who has assisted in student source identification, facilities management, breeder relationships, and shares the dog-training experience from the “spouse of a disabled student” perspective.

Sandi Weiland
Sandi WeilandDirector
Sandi and her husband have two grown children and three grandchildren and are the owners of two small rescue dogs.  Sandi’s professional background includes IT and Quality Management and currently, Real Estate. She began as a volunteer and helps with dog training and handling as well as computer and information systems management.