Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko are a typical Russian couple living in Moscow; they eat dinner together, water their plants, watch TV in the evening – but instead of having children, they’ve raised Stepan, a 300-pound bear.
Stepan may look intimidating, but he is a bigger softie than Winnie the Pooh. Svetlana and Yuriy rescued him from the woods when he was only 3-months-old after hunters killed his mother. Though he was apparently in bad shape at the time, Stepan is now a 23-year-old sweetheart who likes nothing better than cuddling up on the sofa to watch television.
The couple has been criticized online for ‘stealing’ the cub from the wild, but Stepan is quite happy to be extremely domesticated. He has never bitten his adopted human parents and he is described as an affectionate people person. He’s even learned how to help nurture the garden plants by holding a watering can between his paws.
The 7-foot-tall gentle giant goes through 52 pounds of fish, vegetables and eggs every day, but his favorite treat is a bowl of sweetened condensed milk. He stays in shape by playing football, wrestling with his parents, and giving bear hugs –and high-fives– to his two best friends.
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