A big softie

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The idea of sitting down for dinner with a 300 pound bear is enough to put most people off their food. But for one family from Russia, this wild idea is actually a way of life that extends far beyond sharing the odd meal at the dinner table. On the surface, Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko appear to be like any other couple, but for their 23-year-old bear named Stepan. Standing at more than seven feet, Stepan is so domesticated that the family often sit down together in the evenings to watch television. And the bear has even been known to help out around the house - or at least in the garden - by watering the plants. 


Stepan’s favourite dish is a can of condensed milk, thanks to a sweet tooth. He also stocks up on a hefty 25kg of fish, vegetables, and eggs - meaning dinner time at the Panteleenko's is never a breeze. But fortunately for Stepan, he's also a football fanatic, and this helps him to work off the gut-busting amount of food his parents serve him every day. 


Svetlana and Yuriy adopted Stepan when he was aged just three months. The couple say that because they have known the bear so long, his temperament is extremely gentle and he can often be found cuddling up to them on the sofa. Svetlana said: 'Stepan likes nothing more than to cuddle up with us on the sofa at night while we're watching television. When we adopted him, he was only three-months-old and had been found by hunters in the forest, having lost his mother. He was in a very bad condition. He absolutely loves people and is a really sociable bear. Despite what people might think, he is not aggressive at all - we have never been bitten by Stepan. He's got so many talents, and loves a picnic. It's a wonder he doesn't eat us out of house and home!' 


Credit: Sourced and adapted from article in MailOnline, 30 May 2016. 





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