To say the past five years have been chaotic for much-loved TV vet Dr Harry Cooper would be an understatement.
In 2007 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and last year the energetic Better Homes and Gardens presenter split from Janine, his wife of 26 years.
Then last month not only did he turn 70 but he also underwent his second hernia operation which it seems was the straw that broke the camel's back.
"I've just had to ease back a little bit," Cooper says over the phone from his home in Taree, northern New South Wales.
"I've just got out of hospital, I just had a big hernia operation so I've got to take it a bit easy for the next couple of weeks.
"I think at the end of last year I was genuinely very tired and my partner said to me 'This is crazy, you've just worked 14 weekends straight'.
"There wasn't really any time to lay low and enjoy my ponies and my chickens so we sat down over Christmas and decided to take control of our lives so they don't control us so I'm going to try and work just one weekend every month."
While he may be taking it easier, don't think slowing down means Cooper will be leaving the popular Seven lifestyle show anytime soon.
"I love the job and I won't quit till they tell me to. I love the travel and meeting people and trying to fix problems," he explains. "I think they see me as a communicator, someone who takes all the latest and greatest that's happening in veterinary medicine and spreads it to the general public."
Friday night's episode of Better Homes will see Cooper visiting Perth to meet an unusual pet that is destroying a Perth backyard.
"There's not too many animals I haven't kept, you know, over the years so I've kept genuine miniature pigs and this one is as close to a miniature pig as you're going to get," he says.
"The biggest problem with pigs is that they are responsible for a lot of environmental degradation.
"This pig has dug up the whole backyard. I can't stop that unless I put a ring in the pig's nose but the owner didn't want that.
"We trained this pig. Pigs actually train very well for food, they love peanut butter sandwiches."
Next week on the show - which has been running for 18 seasons - Cooper visits Perth Zoo to spend some time with the elephants.
"We kicked a football around and did a few different bits and pieces and then they said now the elephant is going to do some painting," he says, laughing.
"They suit you up in this white suit and you've got a helmet on and a full face mask and you stand there in front of the elephant holding this board and the elephant sucks up paint into its trunk and sprays you with a pow.
"It sent me flying back about a metre the first time, it nearly knocked me over.
"I've got my painting here, I'm going to get it put in a frame, the pattern is quite beautiful."
Since he first appeared on Burke's Backyard in the 1990s, Cooper has cemented his place in the hearts of many Australians, going on to host his first series, Talk to the Animals followed by Harry's Practice.
But it's Better Homes and Garden's where Cooper has found a true home.
"It's a fantastic show I think because it provides a great deal of variety.
"You've got people who are what they are. We don't have presenters who are actors, Rob is a carpenter, Jason is a landscaper, Ed is a chef and me, I'm a vet.
"These people really know what they're talking about and the other thing is, these people are really approachable."Better Homes and Gardens airs on Friday at 7.30pm on Seven/GWN7.
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