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National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week: A Bear and His Ears

This is a guest post by Jennifer, an animal lover who has the uncanny ability to meet a dog and remember their name way better than she can remember the human’s name (which has led to some awkward moments at a party or two). Jennifer strives to influence positively each day and make a difference in a dog's life whether it’s by training and spending time with her four-legged family member or walking the dogs at the local animal adoption center.

When we saw his picture posted on, we were instantly drawn to him. And the name “Bear” described him perfectly: he had a thick, fuzzy black coat, big soulful amber-brown eyes (like the color of honey), and an adorable, cuddly pudgy-puppy physique. But the feature we were most drawn to…his ears! With his one ear standing straight up at attention, and the other ear all floppy like a Lab’s, Bear’s mismatched ears only added to his cuteness and barked volumes for his goofy personality.


We were encouraged to discover Bear was staying at a shelter right here in San Francisco, and we were even more excited to learn he was just around the corner from us at the Pets Unlimited Shelter & Adoption Center! (It was the wonderful folks at Pets Unlimited who named Bear so fittingly.) Once the adoption process was complete, we headed home with our new family member, filled with joy and excitement as any new parents would be. It was then about a week later when the bizarreness began…

One afternoon I was out walking Bear through our neighborhood, when a passing car slowed down next to me. Naturally, I became a little apprehensive, but when the driver lowered their window I figured it was another tourist looking for Lombard Street. But instead of asking for directions to the crookedest street in the world, the driver simply yelled out, “Is that Bear?!?”  IMG_2942

“Why, yes it is,” I proudly declared, while at the same time feeling confounded and astounded that the stranger in the car should recognize my new dog! Just a bizarre and random event I told myself…until a second, similar encounter with a different driver happened just days later!

Then flash forward a couple weeks to another weird and wild Bear sighting: my husband and I were walking up a hill with Bear when we spotted a couple with their yellow Lab heading down the hill towards us. Still absorbed in full-on training mode with our newly adopted pup, we saw this as an excellent opportunity for Bear to meet and greet a new four-legged friend. And then it happened again! The couple approaching us recognized Bear and called out his name before we even had the chance to introduce ourselves. At this point, we concluded that it was more than random events; Bear had developed a fan-following from some local San Franciscans.


Did that many people view Bear’s listing on Had his loveable, gentle and playful disposition worked its way into so many other hearts as it did into ours? How had Bear become such a recognizable pup in a city of hundreds of thousands of people? It must have been those ears!!!

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