Lifestyle & Human Interest

Family Realizes After 2 Years Pet 'Dog' Is Actually Bear When It Starts Walking on Hind Legs


Dogs are common pets. There are so many different kinds, and the weight range and appearance can differ dramatically from breed to breed.

Sometimes, people mistake other creatures for dogs. This has happened with coyotes, foxes and other dog-like creatures, and it’s easy to see why. The babies of those critters look very puppy-like, and someone seeing a pup on its own is likely to scoop it up and care for it without realizing its true nature.

That’s something like what a family from China claims to have experienced.

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Su Yun bought a “puppy” while on vacation back in 2016.

The family says they thought they’d acquired a Tibetan Mastiff puppy, which would have had some of the same colors and the roly-poly pudginess that many baby animals would have … including baby black bears.

But they were puzzled by their new pup’s eating habits. He was eating tons of noodles and fruit every day, and he grew at an alarming rate.

“At the time, it was said that it was only a small Tibetan mastiff,” reads a translation of Su’s explanation to China News. “After taking it home, it has been used as a Tibetan mastiff.”

“Later, the bigger the bigger the more, the more like a black bear. Although I was a little afraid of the black bear, I have been raised for two years and have feelings.”

Their dog never barked, it kept getting bigger, and it started walking on its back legs. They soon came forward to surrender the bear to a sanctuary so that it would get the proper care it needed.

Yunnan Wildlife Rescue Center took in the creature, which was healthy and weighed a respectable 440 pounds. Though the bear had been living with the family for two years, authorities still tranquilized it to move it.

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There are some things that don’t add up in this story, which has been covered by many sources including National Geographic. How blind or misinformed do you have to be to really mistake a bear and a dog — even when they’re young?

Over the two years the family had the bear, something must have flagged as unusual. What dog eats baskets of fruit, buckets of noodles, and rapidly grows over several hundred pounds?

It’s possible, surely, to make the mistake — but not probable. There are way too many “tells” that should’ve given the bear away to even the most blissfully unaware family.

Some are suggesting an alternative explanation that makes much more sense. The bear turned out to be an Asiatic black bear, which is an endangered species. They aren’t exactly legal to own.

When it was smaller, the bear might have been easier to handle, but once it got large enough to become a threat, the family may have realized they were in over their heads and tapped out, alerting the Rescue Center and telling them a tale of mistaken identity.

Either way, Su explained that the family is frightened of bears and could no longer take care of the dog/bear. The family will probably receive a smaller-than-usual fine because of their alleged confusion, and hopefully the bear (who never appears to have caused any real trouble) will be taken care of and placed into a safer habitat.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking