The name is fitting as in:
the noun form- this dog is huge (already 106 lbs. and predicted to gain another 15 lbs.) And think of a black bear; they're similar ;)
the verb form "to hold or support" - the kids lie on him frequently, and although we've yet to put a saddle on him and let Connor go for a ride, I don't doubt that would be successful. And also in the sense of bearing as "bringing forth something." Our family has experienced the kind of joy a family pet brings that we haven't had in a while since Toby passed. Bear has bore that kind of contentment and happiness that comes with a good family dog. Jack expressed it best the other day, when he burst into smiles, and shouted - in the sincere, sweet way Jack has about him, "I love my dog!"
So, where did Bear come from? Our friends the Carney's had adopted a dog not too long ago from an organization here in Huntsville, called FOR (Friends of Rescue). They had a great, smooth experience, and so since then, I've "liked" the organization on Facebook and watched all the animals pop up on their feed. Through perusing that site, we visited with a few foster parents who brought dogs over for us to meet. I particularly liked being able to talk with a foster parent who had experience with the pet, since getting a dog that had experience and was good with young children was an obvious requirement for us. FOR takes care of all vet visits, shots, etc, and when you adopt the dog, you receive the vet records and such.
Bear's (appx 18 months old now) originally family had to turn him in because he wasn't fond of their family cat. And also because Bear could clear a four-foot fence, which he was doing there. Neither was an issue for us, and since we have a heart for big - like, really big dogs - I thought it was worth a visit to see him in his foster home. Of course it didn't hurt that he looked like Toby, either. (I could almost be convinced of reincarnation, considering what we've learned about Bear the past few days. Looks so similar and acts just like Toby used to.)
Oh, and don't let me forget to tell you the most ironic detail of this whole thing. Know what Bear's foster's mom name was? Tobie. I kid you not :) I told Tobie we'd love to take Bear, and home he came with Jack, Connor, and me in the van. Lucy flipped out when she got off the bus, running down the hill, yelling, "I have a new puppy! I have a new puppy!"
FOR suggested that he's a mastiff/lab mix, and here's what the internet says about this mutt breed, labeled "mastidor": http://www.designermixes.org/breed_info/272/mastador.aspx Seems a correct suggestion from what we've experienced with him so far.
Bear is a big teddy bear; he's been nothing but gentle, calm, lazy, affectionate, and eager to please. He hasn't been without his hazards...that tail is something of a weapon, whacking kids in their legs (only Lucy seemed to mind :)
So, onto the cute pictures, and you'll have to forgive me for how many there are. I'm not a "dogs-are-people" person, but hey, I'm not having any more children, so indulge me. :)
First day home:
Headed out for a family walk that evening. He needs a little training not to pull, but he seems a very quick learner. Jason had him walking side by side with him by the end of the walk.
Super snuggly Connor:
Bedtime! (His foster home allowed him up on beds, and while that won't allow that, it was fine for the first night here. Although, Lord knows Lucy argued with us to allow it :)
Morning snuggles; these two wake up and head to wherever Bear is.