Monday, August 9, 2010

In Memory of Bear-Bear

The late Bear-Bear
Many have now heard the story of Bear-Bear, the three-year-old  Siberian Husky who was recently shot in a public dog park by a visitor who happened to be a federal police officer. Bear-Bear went into surgery, and as a result of the vast extent of the injuries inflicted by the bullet, the heart-wrenching decision was made to put Bear-Bear to sleep. It’s a sad and tragic tale that raises many, many questions even beyond the canine world. For an interview with Bear-Bear's owners, please check out the amazingly heartfelt blog story by Meeshka's World, and have the tissues handy.

My focus here, though, will remain on the canine aspect. First, I am not here to bash law enforcement. I have the utmost respect for them and the jobs they do on a daily basis. This is not about dog owners versus the police. This is, however, a story that has no happy ending. We have to ask ourselves how can we prevent this from ever happening again?

I do not personally use dog parks, my Sibes have their own fenced-in backyard to run free and play in. However, I know many folks who do use one and their pets enjoy it tremendously as it gives the dogs the freedom to run as well as a social outlet of playing with other dogs. In my own yard, I watch as my Sibes play in their carefree world, and they are a beautiful sight to behold. As any Sibe owner can attest to, they will run like the speed of light, growl with each other, and mouth each other sometimes so roughly that the sounds of teeth biting teeth can be heard. Siberian Huskies will “bite” each other’s necks and tails and pull each other around while doing so. And yes, they even will rear up, similar to wild horses fighting, and play fight. Anyone who knows the breed, knows these are the energetic roughhousing qualities of a Siberian Husky.

Possibly someone not knowing this about Huskies may become alarmed if they see this type of playing occur. Or, they may panic if they have one jump on their own dog and try to play in this manner. And maybe, just maybe it can escalate if one or both dogs are not happy about the type of play, but to have one shot for this is beyond my wildest nightmare. I cannot speak for the man who felt compelled to react in this manner with Bear-Bear. I was not present for the incident nor do I know why he felt so threatened that the only recourse was to shoot the Sibe. I can only speak as a Hu-mom and owner and trainer of five Siberian Huskies; viciously going on the attack is just not in their nature. While I suppose some owners could make a dog aggressive, it’s difficult for me to see it in a Sibe. It’s not in their genetic makeup. They have been for centuries, very social, hardworking, energetic dogs. Their energy, however, can get quite high, which can result in extremely rough play. One of ours, our alpha queen, will occasionally pull back her mouth and give a full wolf-like, teeth-baring snarl as a warning when she does not want to be bothered. She will also mount the other Sibes and growl and stand up and bat them “polar-bear style” with her paws all in the traditional high-energy style of Siberian Husky play.

In my humble opinion, there just has to be other methods of separating two dogs who are engaged in rough play. I have to believe that, otherwise, who will ever feel safe in a public dog park? My question is, if the man was unarmed, what method would he have used to separate the two dogs? Curious.

No matter what the outcome, Bear-Bear is gone, and that is truly a shame. May he now be at peace and happily playing in the wide open fields of the dog park beyond the Rainbow Bridge. We must all keep in mind that no matter the outcome of the investigation and all of the media attention this incident has brought, nothing will bring Bear-Bear back. That fateful day cannot get a do-over. I can only hope that something like this never occurs again. We all need to remember Bear-Bear’s story and that the true message here is as humans, we must all remain humane.


  1. This was a horrible story with a bad ending :(

    My boys also roughhouse a lot and, on a rare occasion, I run across people who think they are being aggressive when they are simply not. Which is one of the reasons I don't take them to dog parks much anymore. Too many people who go and take their highly submissive dogs, who do understand the husky play, but the humans do not. And then the ones who take their truly aggressive dogs or simply don't know how to manage their dogs.

    But I agree with you 100%. I have never, ever come across a truly aggressive Sibe. And as far as fearful for his wife's safety (from a story I read but with no mention of the dog touching his wife) - really? Would you just pull out a gun and shoot a kid walking by in supposed gang colors - just because he scared you?

    I also support law enforcement. Their jobs are very hard. But that doesn't excuse this. Last I heard you cannot just pull out your gun and start shooting at things just because you are scared/worried.

    A very sad story..

  2. I know this style of fun khwite well!

    It is how I play with my SibeLings and others I enkhounter!

    Bitey nekhk head body tail paw ETC is soooo much fun and SOOOOO us!

    Mom and I have been spreading the word on Bear-Bear since last Tuesday night when we saw the horrible news on FB -

    We are doing all we khan to see that Bear-Bear's Legacy is just what all of us have been doing: spreading the word/sharing/etc -

    He was failed by two UNhumans in his brief life - we won't let it happen again -

    It is also a bit khlose to 'us' fur two of Mom's furst official Sibe Reskhuses khame from TOTTS - Ladygray has khrossed and I'm sure she's been playing with Bear-Bear - but Banshey is now 14 and still doing furry well!

    Mom did both of her transports fur Bear-Bear yesterday - and ranted a bit - she did bite her tongue not to say really bad words -

    Thanks again...


  3. It is very sad to hear about Bear Bear. I know the volunteers at the park we go to carry air horns to try to help break things up if need be, but I have only heard them one time.

  4. A very well written and thoughtful post. This story has captured my attention like nothing else in a very long time. Like you, I have tremendous respect for law enforcement and how honorable most of them are, which is part of what bothers me so much in this case. But I also know how I have stopped going to dog parks for all the crazy things that I have seen people do (the dogs are usually much saner). Now I know I will not use them.

  5. We have no dog parks around here and I have never been to one. I know how my huskies play, I can see a concern if you've never witnessed it, but pulling out a gun and shooting? I agree with your question, what would he have done if he didn't have a gun??

    What if it was their kids rough housing? I don't think he would have done the same thing. I don't see a difference. Do you?