Wendy Coombe's world came crashing down in November 2014 after years of buried trauma and corporate conflict led to a nervous breakdown.
Overnight, a successful career as a high-functioning executive collapsed, leaving her floundering without a 'safe place' (her professional life) and a shattered identity.
Describing the next few years as "a Forrest Gump-like alternative universe," Wendy began the long, slow journey back to wellness.
In six months she walked 2.5 million steps with her Border Collie, Jack, trying to make sense of her trauma, and finding solace in her dog and horse.
The realisation that animals were a key factor in her recovery prompted Wendy to go searching for a national organisation where she could learn more about animal-assisted therapy and where she could find help.
She drew blanks at every turn. In the end, the answer was clear: solving her own crisis and thousands of others in similar circumstances required a bold, life-changing step.
In February 2018, Wendy walked into her accountant's office and registered a new health promotion charity, Animal Therapies Ltd. Five years down the track, it is now recognised as Australia's leading advocate for advancing health through animal-assisted services.