Man's Best Friend
Who doesn't love dogs? They're great and make wonderful family pets. Dogs are loyal, loving, and happy companions who can provide their owners with love and protection. But sometimes everything isn't as it seems to be.
Su Yun and her family definitely couldn't resist. Su Yun and her family lived in Kunming City, Yunnan Province, China. The family had planned a vacation, and they probably didn't intend for one of their souvenirs to be a precious Tibetan Mastiff puppy.
Su and her family arrived back home after their vacation with the newly named pup, 'Little Black.' It sounds weird in English, yes, but the Chinese translation is absolutely perfect for the precious little guy. The family allowed the dog to live in the house with them, so they let him roam to get a feel for the place.
Hungry, Hungry Puppy
As time passed, Su noticed that Little Black had a very healthy appetite as he'd eat everything in his bowl. Not to mention, on top of his regular puppy chow, Little Black was fed two buckets of noodles every day. Yeah, noodles aren't exactly the first thing you'd probably think to feed a dog, but at least their intentions were pure.
Bigger and Bigger Every Day
As time passed, Su watched as Little Black grew and grew. The puppy gained weight quickly and always had a healthy appetite. He was thriving in the household. That made the family happy, of course, but they were a little unnerved by how quickly he was growing. They shrugged it off, as long as he was happy and healthy.
Growing Too Fast
Since Little Black seemed to always be hungry, Su and her family were happy to feed him as much as he wanted. By the time the dog turned one, Su and her family had spent a small fortune on noodles, dog chow, and fruit for his strange diet. Yes, they fed him fruit, which most dogs don't like or can get sick from. However, Little Black seemed to mostly crave fruit.
Okay, Something Definitely Isn't Right
Have you ever heard of a fruit-eating dog? Neither have we. But apparently, Little Black’s strange cravings didn’t raise any big red flags from the family. Puppy love will make you do crazy things--even ignore basic biological facts.
Two years into owning Little Black, Su was a little scared of her own dog. He'd grown much too big. So big that if he pulled on the leash or threatened to attack, then there was no way she could stop him. Some people love big dogs, but Little Black had grown way beyond the family's expectations. And he was becoming dangerous.
My What Big Teeth You Have
Aside from Little Black's massive size, Su noticed some other weird features that she'd never seen on any other dog before. Big dogs are expected to have big teeth, but Little Black's teeth were just too big and too sharp to compare to a normal dog.
He's Tibetan, Not Transylvanian
No, Little Black wasn’t secretly a vampire, as adorable as that would be. But by the time everything was said and done, Su would have probably preferred a vampire to the reality of the situation.
One day, while Little Black was still growing, Su found that he was standing on his hind legs. Now, it's not too abnormal for dogs to stand for brief periods of time, often when they're excited or begging for food, but Little Black was standing like it was completely natural. It was like he was having no issues, which raised a few suspicions.
Just Wanted to Double Check
So now, we’ve got Little Black standing on two legs like a human with his razor-sharp fangs. Are we ABSOLUTELY sure he’s not a vampire?
Roaring and Growling
Once Little Black finally got too big to keep inside, the family was forced to put him outside. However, every time they visited him outside, they found him standing and growling, and instead of barking, he would roar.
Not What He Seemed to Be
With the strange habits, diet, and traits that Little Black was exhibiting, Su and her family finally came face-to-face with the idea that their sweet family dog might not actually be a dog at all.
The Deadliest Case of Mistaken Identity
The family did some research and were stunned to discover what any person with two eyes would have known all along--Little Black wasn’t a dog at all. He was an Asian black bear.
A Nightmare Come to Life
Su and her family felt a wave of conflicting emotions: rage toward the man who'd lied and sold them the bear, fear for their own safety, grief for the loss of the dog they'd loved. However, Su knew that something needed to be done.
What's An Asiatic Black Bear?
The Asian black bear (also known as the moon bear and the white-chested bear) is a medium-sized bear species native to Asia. They typically live in the Himalayas and in some parts of Japan and Taiwan. They're mostly herbivorous but known to be very aggressive toward humans and are listed as a protected animal in China's National Protection Wildlife Law.
Crime and Punishment
In China (and most other countries, for that matter), it’s prohibited to domesticate or own wild animals. Especially endangered wild animals such as the Asiatic black bear. The punishment? Nothing short of jail time, which was a terrifying prospect for Su.
After discovering the truth, Su Yun weighed her options. She could, of course, contact the police, but that could lead to potentially disastrous consequences for her and her family. On the other hand, she could try and contact a zoo that was in the area. She decided to at least attempt contacting the zoo first.
One Option Down…
Su Yun and her family loved Little Black, but they knew that keeping him would bring all kinds of trouble and danger to them. So, Su Yun first reached out to the local zoo to see if they could take Little Black. Unfortunately, the zoo informed Su that without a birth certificate for him, they couldn’t even consider taking the bear in.
Their Last Hope
With her hopes for a zoo rescue dashed, Su faced her last option. Reluctantly, she called the police and explained the situation. Within minutes, police and wildlife experts from the Forest Public Security Bureau had surrounded her home.
A Shocking Sight
Once they arrived, Su and her family fully cooperated with police, telling them about the strange situation. However, it wasn’t until police and wildlife officials went into the backyard that they truly believed it. Even at first sight, the officials knew that Little Black, who was resting in a caged area of the yard, was definitely no dog.
Once the truth had been realized, the family reached out to wildlife officials for help. Little Black was picked up and taken to the Yunnan Wildlife Rescue Centre. Footage that was taken by officials showed Little Black standing at about a meter tall and over 250 lbs. Officials were so intimidated by him that he was sedated for transport.
A New Life in a New Home
After Little Black was taken from his home with Su Yun and her family, he was checked over by vets before being admitted to a nearby reserve. Thankfully, Su Yun and her family weren’t faced with any significant punishments due to her cooperation with the police.
At some point, National Geographic caught wind of the story, and from there, it blew up. The family and Little Black became media sensations, but there was also a lot of controversy surrounding the story. Many people across the globe questioned how anyone could mistake a bear cub for a dog, and the family faced backlash for the mistake.
Not an Uncommon Mistake
You might be surprised to hear that this actually happens more than you'd think. In 2018, a woman in China handed over a fox that she'd thought was a Japanese Spitz for almost a year. In the same year, a man took a leopard cat from the wild after mistaking it for a stray domestic kitten.