The overseer of a program saving rescue dogs and rehabilitating inmates at Bathurst Jail has been awarded an Australian Corrections Medal in the Australia Day honours list.
Kylie Fogarty received the award for her role in the Defence Community Dogs Program, a program which assists former soldiers suffering physical and mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, by pairing them with a rescue dog, trained by inmates as part of their rehabilitation.
The rescue dogs require extensive training in public areas on a daily basis, with Ms Fogarty managing the inmates on the program and identifying ways to complete the many dog training requirements within the constraints of a correctional environment.
While it can be challenging to co-ordinate and obtain community acceptance. Ms Fogarty gets the dog training team out to a variety of activities each day which is crucial in ensuring that the dogs are trained properly in everyday situations.
She has since built strong relationships with the Bathurst community for the program and inmates and dogs are now welcomed anywhere in Bathurst with members of the public openly congratulate the inmates for their contribution.
This acceptance was evident when the dogs and inmates were recently asked to lead the ANZAC Day parade at the request of the RSL president and The Mayor of Bathurst.
Ms Fogarty said she was humbled by the award.
“I feel extremely privileged to have been nominated for this award and to work with the amazing team in CSNSW and the Defence Bank Foundation who fund the program. It is extremely humbling to be part of something which is achieving such significant outcomes for not only for Australian veterans, but also for offenders and rescue dogs.”
Ms Fogarty said her decision to move from Sydney to Bathurst four years ago to take up the position was the best thing she had ever done.
“As I left all my family and friends in Sydney it was a little difficult to settle here on my own, but the Bathurst Correction Centre staff and community have all been incredible. They have supported me through good and bad times and they all pull together like a family – this is my home now.”
While she has worked for Corrections for over 15 years in a variety of roles including offenders services and programs, restorative justice and community corrections, she said her current position is by far he most rewarding.
“It’s such a great feeling to make such a tangible difference in veterans lives, and on top of that, I get to work with dogs all day," she said.