Len is on a mission to paint all of the POOPS Pets of Busselton!
It all started when Busselton Coordinator Cathy asked Len to paint POOPS doggo Sophie, as her owner was moving into a nursing home and wasn’t able to take Sophie with her. Cathy hoped a painting of her beloved Sophie would make the separation just a little easier and asked Len if he could help. Len remembers
‘She said how much do you want and I said give me the price of the frame, which was about $25. Then I started painting another one and I now go to op shops and buy good condition frames and I paint the painting to suit the frames’
Len and his wife Pam are originally from the UK and lived in Australia previously before relocating permanently in 1970. They originally moved back to the UK to be near family and Pam’s ageing father, but returned to Australia to manage Pams’ health. Pam has Bronchiectasis, a condition where the airways are damaged which can lead to many infections. While living in the UK she was told she wouldn’t live past 50. Pam recalls “we were told this a couple of years before we migrated and I had pneumonia several times and we thought about it and they gave us a list of places that would be a lot warmer, like California and South Africa”. The couple decided on Australia, and attribute settling here with being able to celebrate Pam’s 84th birthday this year!
63 years ago is when this couple met. Len’s career was progressing well. He liked his job and got on well with his colleagues. Everything was moving along nice and steady, until one day someone new joined the office. He says “this girl joined the company as an office worker and I was encouraged too chat her up, we both rode to work every day on bicycles, we had a hill near us so I started to push her up the hill.”
His persistence and encouragement from colleagues paid off. A year later Pam and Len were married. 63 years later Pam and Len still cycle together on their tandem, and although they can say they’ve been happily marriage for the most part, they have definitely had some disagreements. “We had one just a while ago” says Pam.
As well as being POOPS resident artist, Len and his wife Pam are both very active volunteer walkers, having discovered POOPS through one of the senior groups they joined. Len recalls “We looked around for things to do, cos when you come here you don’t know anybody, apart for our daughter, so we joined seniors groups and I saw the POOPS advert with Cathy [Busselton Coordinator] and I said to Pam, that’s a good idea cos we haven’t got a dog and Pam’s reluctant to get another one.”
The couple currently walk Nellie, a Toy Poodle, and Rosie a West Highland White Terrier, who due to her hip issues enjoys most of her walks through the wetlands from the elevated view of a stroller. Friday is time with Schnapps, the long haired Dachshund, who doesn’t have a stroller but also enjoys an elevated view. “He likes being carried” says Pam.
With their various senior group social events, tandem adventures and dog walking, this couple clearly love being active and involved in their community.
Len is also enjoying his new mission, and although he appreciates how grateful POOPS pet owners are when they receive the paintings, he doesn’t feel the need to be involved in that part of the process, even though it does happen from time to time.
“I’m quite happy to paint them, hand them over to someone else and let them do the presentation…I’ve had a couple of cards, a box of chocolates’ few things like that. I’m not looking for cash, it’s done for love and you’d be surprised that giving gives one a lot of pleasure”.
Plus says Pam “it keeps him quiet”.