We’ve seen countless stories about kind, caring individuals who rescue orphaned animals. Most often they tend to be domesticated animals, like a dog or a cat, but, occasionally, it’s a wild animal. It doesn’t get more wild than a bear. When hunters in Russia found a distressed, orphaned bear cub, one loving couple took it upon themselves to nurse the poor thing back to health. Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko gave the three-month-old cub a home, one he still lives at 23 years later.
Now fully grown, Stepan the bear is fully domesticated. While it’s hard to imagine a docile bear, the Panteleenko’s assure us that Stepan is a very loving and sociable pet. Forget kibble, Stepan consumes a feast of 25kg of fish, eggs, and vegetables every day. Like a giant dog, he’s quite the goof; he loves playing with his favorite ball and cuddling up with his humans. “He absolutely loves people and is a really sociable bear," Svetlana says.
When hunters first found him in the woods, Stepan was in bad shape.
With a lot of love, the Panteleenko's nursed him back to health.
23 years later, Stepan still lives with the Panteleenkos.
"Despite what people might think, he is not aggressive at all,” Svetlana says.
A gentle giant, Stepan towers over his family at seven feet tall.
Stephan likes to wash down all those fish and veggies with some tea.
Stepan has never once bitten his caretakers.
While some might not let their pets on the couch, the Panteleenkos enjoy snuggling up with Stepan.
Smarter than your average bear, Stepan helps out his family with the gardening.
Like any European, Stepan loves to play football.
Quite the busy bear, Stepan also acts in films and participates in photoshoots.
As they say, your family is not complete without a pet.
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