Being around a 400lb brown bear seems daunting to most of us, let alone cuddling with such a massive beast. But if I told you that for this couple in Russia, having dinner with a bear is just like spending time with our puppies for the rest of us. That’s because Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko, and their furry friend Stepan—nothing but an adult bear—have been a happy family for over 23 years now!
This heartwarming love story began over two decades ago when Stepan was just 3 months old. The little cub was in terrible condition when some hunters stumbled upon him in the woods. Since his mother was nowhere to be found, the men took the crying little bear away as he would have no chance of surviving in the wild.
They introduced him to Svetlana and Yuriy from Moscow, who decided to take care of the helpless bear cub, at least until he fully recovered. But years passed, and now Stepan still lives with his human parents. Although about 7 feet tall and over 400 pounds, the massive bear is nothing but a gentle giant!
“He loves people and is a social bear – despite what people might think, he’s not aggressive at all,” Svetlana said. “We were never bitten by him.”
Nonetheless, they still treat him with respect, because even though Stepan is fully domesticated, he’s still a wild animal with deadly instincts. But it turns out that for the Panteleenkos, he’s like their own baby.
Incredibly cute and friendly, Stepan loves watching TV on the couch alongside his humans. Sometimes they even gave him a task like watering the flowers or gardening.
“Stepan loves snuggling up with us on the couch at night while we watch TV,” Yuri said. “He is so talented and loves picnicking.”
Massive Stepan is also very attentive to his diet. As his foster parents said, he eats 55 pounds of food, every day, with fish, forest fruits and vegetables among his favorites.
Learn more about her big happy family in the video below!