To many people unless they’re of the teddy variety, bears are far from cuddly and even less wuddly. Bruno the sloth bear was an apparent exception to that rule because he was not only trained to give literal bear hugs by his owner, but seemingly enjoyed doing so.
Now Bruno’s story began about a century ago in the Indian region of Mysore (now Mysuru) in India when a hunter called Kenneth Anderson saw his mother get shot. Feeling sorry for the animal Anderson chased it through a field and shoved him into a sack while it tried to paw at his face. Trust us, this is this only part of Bruno’s story that’s depressing as shit and the rest is like, super adorable.
Anderson then took the tiny bear cub home and gave it to his wife as a present who after taking a moment for her ovaries to adjust to the massive influx of cuteness hormones, called it Bruno and tied a stylish ribbon around his neck.
From that moment on Anderson’s wife and Bruno were inseparable with the bear being given free rein to run about their house and shit wherever he felt like. As Bruno grew the Mrs Anderson trained him to perform a multitude of tricks of varying complexity, usually rewarding him with his favourite food, anything.
That’s not hyperbole by the way, according to Anderson there wasn’t a single foodstuff Bruno didn’t apparently enjoy and the animal would happily chow down on everything from curried pork to porridge filled with fish and coffee. This actually ended up nearly killing Bruno when he wandered into Anderson’s study and ate an entire bowl of rat poison. Luckily, a vet was able to save the bear who no doubt learned an important lesson about not eating random shit he found on the floor.
Just kidding, a few weeks later Anderson found Bruno drinking a gallon of motor oil which apparently had no effect on either his appetite or health save for giving his fur a glossy sheen for a few weeks. Apparently Bruno was fuelled by both hugs and motor oil.
Anderson’s wife continued to lavish treats on the bear who in return, would regularly climb into her bed when she was asleep to snuggle and would eagerly respond to any command she gave him. Some of the more unusual tricks Anderson’s wife taught Bruno included pretending a stick was a gun, cradling a block of wood like a baby, standing on his head and tackling people to the floor to form a giant bear cuddle puddle on command.
However, Bruno soon grew too large for the house and Anderson gave the bear away to a local zoo, much to his wife’s annoyance. Upon learning that Bruno was refusing to eat in his new home Anderson had a change of heart and decided to take the bear back, building him a large cage to live in. While it’s not explicitly mentioned in any source, we’re guessing the fact Anderson also basically assassinated his sex-life by giving away his wife’s beloved pet also played a part in his eventual decision to get Bruno back.
Bruno apparently then spent the rest of his life being doted on by Anderson’s wife who’d visit him every day to share hugs, cakes and tea. Yes, you read that correctly, Anderson’s wife spent the next two decades having a literal teddy bear’s picnic every day with a real bear. See, history isn’t all bad.