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Sly: Therapy dog trained by prison inmate saves ex-policeman’s life

A therapy dog, trained by a prison inmate at Bathurst in NSW, has been credited with saving the life of an ex Victorian policeman who suffered with crippling PTSD after being shot in the head.

Sly shared the incredible story of the trio on 3AW Breakfast.

Former policeman Ron Fenton was shot by Kai Korhonen, who murdered a security guard before blasting 27 bullets into Ron’s police car in Beaumaris in 1984.

Ron was shot in the head and went into a coma.

He wasn’t expected to survive.

Click PLAY below to hear the full details

“Through sheer guts and determination he was back to fully operational police work in 11 years,” Sly told Ross and John.

“Another incident left Ron with severe PTSD which left him contemplating taking his own life.

“But things turned around in the most wonderful and bizarre way.”

Because of his time in the Army Reserves, Ron was eligible for a therapy dog, trained by an inmate at Bathurst Prison.

Yogi the labrador came into Ron’s life last year.

“I’ve been able to go outside and actually live a life again which I haven’t been able to do in more than 20 years,” Ron said.

“I used to suffer from night terrors, I would scream in the middle of the night or punch holes in the walls.

“When Yogi detects a change in my breathing pattern, he gets up and turns on the light and wakes me up by licking my face or nuzzling under my arm.”

Sly and Ron were joined on the line by Benni, the Bathurst Prison inmate who trained Yogi.

“It’s a full time job really, it’s not necessarily that hard but it’s the commitment,” Benni said.

“But being in jail, you’ve got time on your side.”

Sly described the story as a “win, win, win”.

“The dog was saved, Ron Fenton would probably be dead and Benni is out and no longer a criminal,” Sly said.

Photo: Fairfax Regional Media – Some of the dogs from the Bathurst Inmate training program

For help call Lifeline on 131 114 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.