Karen Hollings is a highly experienced paramedic who has been employed by St John Ambulance in Western Australia since 2003.
She loves her job and has been awarded several commendations over the course of her career, but it has also come at a high cost.
Like so many other first responders, she is confronted with trauma on a daily basis. She sees people at their best, their worst, and when they are vulnerable.
In 2014, a vicious assault by a drug and alcohol-affected patient left Karen with multiple injuries, requiring extensive surgery, rehabilitation and ultimately leading to post traumatic stress.
Her recovery was slow - six years in total - but canine therapy played a significant role in helping her get back into society and eventually returning to work.
Karen has now started a project focused solely on the mental health of first responders, with dogs at the heart of it.
Dogs for First Responders was established in 2022.