FOR ALMOST two decades Laurie Stageman has been on the frontline of animal welfare in Ipswich.
RSPCA inspector Mr Stageman, 64, started work with the organisation as an ambulance officer 17 years ago.
In 2003, he became an inspector and has been in the position - which he says he still loves - ever since.
His dedication to animal welfare is matched only by his dedication to a charming little pooch with a bung leg who stole his heart 15 years ago.
When Charlie arrived at the RSPCA care she had a broken leg that had gone untreated and healed badly.
Mr Stageman was instantly taken with the stray fluffy little dog.
In 2002, Charlie found a new home with Mr Stageman who loves his canine companion dearly and is now 126 in human years.
"She's such a gorgeous little dog," Mr Stageman said.
"She had a bent leg and I felt awful thinking about the amount of suffering she had been through with the broken leg."
Vets tried to fix Charlie's leg but she still has a bit of limp today - because she is small, it doesn't cause her any problems, Mr Stageman said.
"She's a happy little girl. Every time it's tea time she wants something from your plate... I do give in because she keeps barking until you give her some," he chuckled.
Over the years, Mr Stageman has dealt with some tough situations and collected some heart-warming memories, too.
He said going out to inspect homes where people were "hording animals", or where the animals were in poor condition, could be upsetting.
But being in the position to go back to some of the properties where advice on animal care had been issued and see the owners had heeded that advice was a great reward.
"When you go to a property and give the right advice, then you go back to do a follow-up and see a beautiful looking animal, that gives you a sense of achievement.
"You know that you got the message across," he said.
"I will stay with the RSPCA until I drop.
"We're like a big family. I love it."
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