Adopting a puppy comes with all sorts of surprises. Potty training them alone is a process! Still, despite all of the challenges, you can usually expect to add something special to your life when you welcome a puppy into your home. You never know what kind of personality your little pup will develop.
For one family in China, their young dog seemed to present even more unusual challenges than most. He couldn’t stop eating, and he seemed to grow absurdly large. They figured it was because of his breed, but they couldn’t have been more wrong—and they soon realized they were in danger the entire time.
Su Yun, a resident of the city of Kunming in the Yunnan province of southwestern China, live an otherwise happy, normal life with her family. Naturally, she decided to expand it in 2016 by adopting a puppy.
Brücke-Osteuropa / Wikimedia Commons
Su wasn’t entirely sure what kind of dog she’d brought home, but she was fairly confident that he was a Tibetan mastiff (pictured here). Those are big dogs, so she figured her new puppy would have to be fed a lot. However, she never expected his insatiable appetite!
Even when he was still just a puppy, nothing seemed to satisfy the dog’s hunger. He would eat entire boxes of fruit and noodles in a day! Still, Su and her family didn’t think there was any reason to be alarmed. Dogs just love to eat, right?
Richard Masoner / Flickr
Ultimately, it was not the dog’s appetite that made the family worry, but his rapid growth. By the time he was just two years old, he weighed a whopping 250 pounds. That would be absolutely massive for even the biggest dogs!
Things only became more bizarre from there. Eventually, he developed an ability to walk on his hind legs. Some dogs could do this for a few minutes—like show poodles—but this big guy actually seemed to be able to maintain his balance.
The bigger he became, the stranger he looked, too. The family started to become suspicious that their precious pup was not what he seemed. “The more he grew, the more like a bear he looked,” Su admitted. “I am a little scared of bears.”
Tony Hisgett / Wikimedia Commons
At that point, it became evident that this was no dog: the family’s pet was, indeed, a bear! Of course, a bear did not have any business in a home. Su reached out to the staff at the Kunming Zoo to see if they’d be able to provide a home for the animal.
Daderot / Wikimedia Commons
Unfortunately, at the time, Su didn’t have a proper birth certificate for the animal that she had assumed was just an abnormally large dog. Because of this, the zoo couldn’t legally bring him onto their premises.
With that, Su contacted the Kunming Wildlife Police, who in turn put her in touch with the Yunnan Wildlife Rescue Centre. Finally, the center agreed to take in the (presumably rather confused) animal.
At that point, when the officials reached the bear, he had grown to be three feet tall. Despite their expertise, they were understandably quite frightened, and they had to tranquilize the animal for safety reasons.
Once the staff of the Yunnan Wildlife Rescue Centre got a hold of the creature, they were able to identify him as an Asiatic black bear, which was considered “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
These bears have had a particularly rough time in China in recent decades. Due to severe habitat loss between the 1940s and 1990s, they’ve suffered a severe drop in population numbers—nearly 80 percent!
cuatrok77 / Flickr
Despite the legal issues surrounding these bears, their remains—like their gall bladders and claws—fetch a high price on the black market. If Su hadn’t done the right thing, her “dog” may have suffered a terrible fate!
In any event, the staff at the Yunnan Wildlife Rescue Centre were determined to keep this bear safe, naming him “Little Black.” Thankfully, he was in surprisingly great health for being kept in a small home!
It should be noted that China’s National Protection Wildlife Law explicitly prohibits the poaching of bears, and there are severe punishments for those who hunt them without permission.
shankar s / Flickr
There was even a chance that the Yun family could suffer penalties for keeping Little Black as a house pet for as long as they did, even though they eventually turned him in to the proper authorities.
Luckily, the police considered reducing the family’s punishment since they were so cooperative. After all, as far-fetched as it may sound, these people really didn’t know that anything was wrong with their pet “dog” for quite some time!
Naturally, this unusual turn of events became a hit among the Chinese press. It was difficult for many people to believe that a family could go so long without realizing that their “dog” was actually a bear!
Hopefully, Little Black appreciates his new life as a bear in captivity, even if he may have already been accustomed to living his life as a preposterously large pooch. That couldn’t have lasted forever!
If you still can’t believe how someone could believe a bear is a dog, just wait until you watch Little Black in action! If you squint a little, you really can see how a spectacular mix-up like that might be possible…
There’s nothing that can quite prepare anyone for the realization that they’ve had a bear living in their own home for years. Luckily, Little Black was taken to a more appropriate place before he grew any larger!
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