When Dr Warwick Prowse heard off-leash areas for dogs were going to disappear from Northern Illawarra beaches more than 3500 people turned out to a rally he was involved in organising at Sandon Point to protest the move.
The public outcry was so successful the proposal before Wollongong City Council did not not proceed.
Many of the pet owners who turned out that day would have used Dr Prowse's professional veterinary services over the last 49 years.
But this Thursday will be his last day on the job at Austinmer Veterinary Hospital.
Dr Prowse, 72, started his career in 1971 at Wollongong Veterinary Hospital and became an equal partner in that practice in 1973.
He later founded the Austinmer practice in 1995 that grew to employ 20 people by the time he sold the trading entity to Gerard Coleman in 2018.
The sale included Helensburgh Veterinary Clinic which he acquired in 2005 and ran as a branch practice.
Dr Prowse is not only a much loved vet to many loyal customers and their pets he has been involved in animal welfare and represented the veterinary industry on many associations.
That has included two terms as state president of the Australian Veterinary Association, three years on the NSW Vet Surgeons Board Investigating Committee and five years on the NSW RSPCA Board where he contributed significantly to management change.
"I like to give back," he said.
"And I am still on the Animal Ethics Committee at UNSW".
Employee of 34 years Lindy Roberts said Dr Prowse had enjoyed an amazing career and contributed much.
Which is why he has been so busy in recent weeks with so many people in the community wanting to wish him well.
Dr Prowse said his last week on the job is proving to be particularly busy.
"This winter has been crazy," he said.
"I think everyone is home more this year and looking at their pets more".
Dr Prowse said the Austinmer practice has been able to keep up because it has an amazing team who all contribute to its success.
He said customers have also been very loyal including two or three generations of some families.
He even had one young women come in recently to tell him she was a microbiologist because of him.
She reminded him of how she brought a sick dog in and he let her have a look under the microscope.
She was was so fascinated she went out and bought one herself and went on to study microbiology..
Dr Prowse said he had many things he wanted to do at home and with his family and decided 72 was a good age to retire.
But he still got a little emotional when he was asked how he would feel on Thursday.
"It has been a fantastic journey and I have made so many good friendships," he said.
"We are lucky to live in this country with so much good pet care which has improved no end in the time I have been a vet".
Dr Prowse's wife Roslyn Prowse has also been involved with the Austinmer practice.
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