Fluffy dog from Surbiton creates beautiful painting for birthday present

A beautiful Keeshond who looks like a bear spreads lots of joy to those around him including his ‘grandma’ after he created a special painting for her 75th birthday.

Leo’s owner, Richard Gooud from Surbiton, London, had the bright idea for Leo to create something original and unique for his mum’s birthday.

He couldn’t stop praising the pup, who is almost three, for all of the joy and intelligence he has to offer and a painting a creative way of showing his energy.

If it wasn’t for the paw prints that gave it away, you would believe a professional artist created it.

Richard Gooud
It took Leo four hours to complete the painting and it paid off
(Image: Richard Gooud)

Richard, 35, said: “I wanted to do something different and give my mum something original. So, I got a big canvas and some paints, we set it up in the garden, then we did one colour at a time to layer it up.

“All we did was paint Leo’s paws one colour, let him walk around on it with some treats and then wash off the paint and do another colour.

“There were 17 colours which were layered up to make a montage of all that movement and excitement. What’s nice about it was it was genuine because it was all his movement.

None of the paw prints were placed by me, it was what he created, which sounds really cheesy but it truly means it’s from him.”

After four hours in the garden and playing around with poster paint, the rather attractive looking paw print painting was complete.

Richard Gooud
The painting was named ‘dinner time’
(Image: Richard Gooud)

Richard said: “The clean up was a bit of a mission – he was absolutely covered in paint. We have white walls as well so they needed to be cleaned a bit but it was all worth it.

“The first few layers of paint I thought it’s going… okay… but then the more and more it went on and when I finally pulled the masking tape off I thought wow, that is so good.

“He genuinely enjoyed it and he got into a routine – after every colour he went back and sat ready for the next colour to go on. He knew if he put his paw up for the paint brush he would get a treat.

“Rather than just a photo, I’ve got thousands of photos of Leo which I could get on a big canvas but that’s not personal. This means so much more. And my mum loves it, I get daily texts saying it makes her smile.”

Richard Gooud
Leo’s incredible fur requires 20 minutes of brushing each day
(Image: Richard Gooud)

The touching present really did bring joy to the home, which is where Richard lost his dad two years ago. It was an extra special moment to frame the artwork and hang it on the wall of their house.

Leo’s other artful talent is that he has a tendency to make everyone smile. Richard says when people meet Leo, every single person smiles.

“He’s a mixture between a dog and a bear so they just smile, and because they smile I smile,” Richard said. “Every single person will want to know more about him.”

Richard works as a special needs coordinator in a secondary school, where he brings Leo into work – not as a therapy dog, but more as a support dog.

Richard Gooud
Leo makes everyone at school smile when he visits
(Image: Richard Gooud)

He said: “I always wanted a dog to bring in to work with some of the students. The idea being he would be there for the kids if they were dysregulated or if they’re upset or even if they needed a big cuddle from a big teddy bear.

“And since I started to do it, more of the staff are bringing their dogs in with a range of cockapoos, Frenchies and beagles. It’s really good for those that are anxious about dogs to see positive interaction.

“There’s always a crowd around Leo when he goes into the playground. He just brings a world of fun. I get comments like ‘this has been the best day ever’ just because they could stroke him, it’s a proper feel good thing.”

Keeshonds became popular on the barges in Holland, and are now known for their fluffy appearance and incredible level of intelligence and kindness. And Leo is a very good representation of this with his painting and school visits.

Richard Gooud
Leo goes on Keeshond walks in his neighbourhood
(Image: Richard Gooud)

Richard said: “I understand people can feel intimidated by them, but until you meet one, their whole aura is just exciting and it instantly makes you smile.

“He’s not that big but people say he’s big in personality which you can’t get from a photo. His demeanour is so positive and people just smile when they’re with him. It’s so nice to be that owner.”

You can follow more of Leo’s life on Instagram.

My London – Local News