Farewell to community minded, dog-lover Ruth Miller

Community minded: Ruth Miller and her late dog Cilla, who inspired the creation of dog parks on the Fleurieu.
Community minded: Ruth Miller and her late dog Cilla, who inspired the creation of dog parks on the Fleurieu.

Last weekend, the Fleurieu said goodbye to one of its finest community members of recent years.

Ruth Miller and her partner Don made Port Elliot their home for the last nine years, and have now packed up and headed to a warmer climate in Lake Macquarie.

Upon arriving on the Fleurieu in 2011, Ruth soon made a noticeable impact and became well known for her work in the community.

It wasn't the first time she had called the town home either, after previously living in Port Elliot during the 1980s, while studying at the South Coast District Hospital.

Recognised at last year's Fleurieu Women's Community Awards, Ruth made many contributions across different areas.

Most notably, Ruth was the driving force behind the establishment of the Port Elliot Dog Park and the creation of the Dogs Day Out and Greyhound Run Around events.

Ruth was also an advocate for the establishment of the Victor Harbor Dog Park and volunteered her time as a surf life saver at Port Elliot and Chiton Rocks Surf Life Saving Clubs, after completing her Bronze Medallion in 2012.

A former World Master's Games Bronze diving medalist, Ruth remains passionate about sport and giving back her time and expertise where possible.

Ruth said her faithful Labrador Cilla who passed away in May, was the motivation behind her efforts in establishing dog parks in the region.

"I was a puppy carer for Seeing Eye Dogs Australia and the puppy I had trained (Cilla) in Brisbane was withdrawn," she said.

"I'd already moved to Port Elliot and she became available for adoption, so I became a dog owner in Port Elliot.

"When we left Brisbane there were over 130 dog parks, whereas in Port Elliot, the closest park was over 70 kilometres away."

Ruth formed the Friends of the Port Elliot Dog Park in 2012 and began fundraising for a park, which was established with the support of Alexandrina Council in 2013.

Since then, the space and community at the dog park has gone from strength to strength, with Ruth and her Friends working with council to build and create well-loved facilities at the park.

In a South Australian first, Ruth also recently led the charge to establish a dog waste trial project at the park, to ensure all waste is diverted from landfill and utilised for compost.

"It's been a great project investigating how we can divert dog waste from landfill... we've learned some really valuable information that will guide steps in the future and provide advice to councils throughout South Australia," Ruth said.

As a member of the Port Elliot Town and Foreshore Improvement Association since 2012, Ruth said the group paved the way for her involvement in community initiatives.

"I would really like to thank everyone for the terrific support they have given me over the years, especially in helping turn ideas into useful outcomes for the community," Ruth said.

"People have been very willing to get on board with initiatives and have always been willing to help. With lots of people doing a little, we've achieved some great facilities and events."