Meet The Trainers
Anna is a Maine native and a graduate from the University of Maine in Orono where she received a bachelor’s degree in Animal and Veterinary Science. She grew up on her grandfather’s Hereford cattle farm in Pittston where they raised many animals including hunting Beagles. Her family owned many dogs including Cairn Terriers, Labradors/mixes, and Bull Mastiffs. All of which she playfully taught as a child to hunt for toys, pull her in the water or by sled, and navigate the maze of obstacles she would make out of the household furniture.
As a teen she began training and competing in the Maine Quarter Horse Association. What began as riding lessons at a farm in Belgrade turned into a love and passion for training animals. Through many opportunities she developed her skills training Quarter Horses and instructing new riders in lessons and camps for all ages.
During her college years she began her journey into the pet industry through a local, organic dog shampoo company. She soon became determined to dedicate her life to her beloved Golden Retriever, Gaby. After graduation she moved to Texas to pursue her passion for training. She holds three certifications in dog training and behavior modification from Starmark Academy for Professional Dog Trainers in Hutto, Texas.
Since her start in 2014, she has trained dogs in five different states, managed a doggie daycare, served as the Director of Canine Education at Highland Canine Training’s School for Dog Trainers, and evaluated, trained, and successfully placed rescue dogs into forever homes through her work at the Kennebec Valley Humane Society (KVHS).
Along with instructing lessons at Merrills, Anna works full-time as the Canine Education and Behavior Manager at KVHS. She manages all canine activities and oversees all training and adoptions. She has a Rat Terrier mix named Taco she adopted from a shelter while living in Texas and a cat, Phoenix, who she adopted from KVHS.
Sarah Voynik grew up in Readfield, Maine and graduated from Thomas College with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and from Purdue University Global with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a focus in Leadership and executive management.
During her childhood in Readfield, Sarah’s family raised puppies and trained field trial and hunting dogs, beginning her love for working with dogs. Sarah’s mom, Kathy, transitioned into training one of her dogs to find cadaver. Sarah trained with her mom’s dog, Denali, almost every day developing her skills as handler and trainer from a young age. Throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school, Sarah was always laying tracks for her mom, teaching puppies’ obedience in the backyard, or training field trial dogs.
While at Thomas College, Sarah accepted an internship position to train dogs with Merrill’s Detector Dog Services. Sarah’s initial internship started with obedience training and working with multiple dogs in the company, but she eventually got the opportunity to buy her own dog, Phiona, who she trained to detect explosives. Throughout her internship, Sarah developed the skills to not only train dogs in obedience, but to also train dogs in various scent detection roles.
After graduating with her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, Sarah went on to work for Merrill’s Detector Dog Services as a handler, trainer, and kennel hand. Throughout her 8-year career with Merrill’s, Sarah has trained and worked with multiple scent detection canines and has been a driving force in growing the company into what it is today. As the Program Manager for Merrill’s, Sarah has managed the growth of the company, clients, and been point of contact on large scale events, such as the NBA Allstars, with over 30 teams across an entire city.
Sarah currently lives in Augusta, Maine with her husband, Chris, and her 3 dogs, Phiona (Explosive Detection), Primrose (Therapy Dog in Training), and Belle (Retired Narcotics Detection).