I’m an arctophile – I collect teddy bears – well, to be honest, they collect me.
Thing is, you see, a bear has to belong to someone. If they aren’t “someone’s bear” they start to lose their identity and get confused. Ideally they’ll be the adored friend of a small person who’ll take them everywhere, even if it is by the left hind leg so they spend most of their life upside-down – it doesn’t matter, they belong.
So when you see a bear that isn’t with someone, you can bet your life it’s a very sorry bear indeed.
I don’t have a collection – I run St. Ursula’s Orphanage for Homeless Bears (under my cover name of Rev. Mother Griselda Goldenpaws, Matron) Some come for a while and then go to a new person to belong to, some end up staying for good.
Often they need a little magic to bring them back to life because they’ve lost the will to belong. So I clean them up and find a new personality for them, dress them up and talk to them. I tell them who they are and where they are going and they gradually perk up and get all excited about belonging again.
Deakus (above) was a very hard case. He got the title of “Grumpiest Bear in the Whole Wide World” when he was brought home from a flea market. The expression on his face spoke volumes – and all of it swearwords.
So I sat him down and had a long chat with him and realised that his grumpiness came from the fact that he couldn’t see properly. Careful trimming with nail scissors and a pair of glasses made a huge improvement.