OAM AWARDS: Ipswich dog trainer receives top honours
PASSIONATE animal lover Catharina Slot (better known as Cathy) has been recognised for her contribution and determination to promoting the sport of dog agility by being named as one of this year's Order of Australia recipients.
Ms Slot, from Chuwar, first started participating in dog agility in 1992 with her German shepherd, Zac.
She quickly fell in love with the sport and helped to co-found the Agility Dog Association of Australia.
"Our association is the governing body of dog agility, which is the equivalent of horse jumping," Ms Slot said.
"The sport started in the United Kingdom but I was one of the co-founders of the organisation in Australia, which was set up almost 25 years ago. In November, it will be our 25th birthday.
"It was our aim to have an organisation that followed the international trend of dog agility."
Ms Slot was the second handler in Australia to achieve a Master Australian Agility Dog title and one of the first dog trainers in Australia to develop practical training programs using a clicker, which is a simple and effective method of training based on a positive reinforcement reward system.
This reward system is what Ms Slot uses in her role as the founding member of the Agility Dog Club Queensland.
Ms Slot only found out she had been nominated for an Order of Australia award when she received an email from the office of the Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.
"I was really shocked.
"This was the first I had heard I was even nominated
"I actually thought it might have been a spam email."
Ms Slot was one of 1214 people who received an award in the Queen's Birthday 2019 Honours list.
There were 993 recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia, as well as 221 meritorious and military awards.
Included in the list was the highest ever percentage of women recipients in the Order of Australia, at 40 per cent.
The Governor-General and Chancellor of the Order of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, said "it is great that the overall number of nominations and upward trend of Australian women being acknowledged through the Honours system continues to grow".
"I encourage all Australians, if you ever see someone with an Order of Australia lapel badge, or see and Order of Australia post nominal after their name, to recognise that person is extraordinary and has served their community and nation.