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Hug a Bear Day

No, this is not a day for going out into the wild and hugging bears; it is a day when people hug their teddy bear, the comfort animal that was named after the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. In November 1902, Roosevelt, an avid hunter, went on a hunting excursion organized by Mississippi's governor, Andrew Longino, in Smedes, Mississippi. Roosevelt was accompanied by some aides, other hunters, and reporters, as well as a hunting guide, Holt Collier, and his hunting dogs. After a few days without success, Roosevelt and the hunting dogs were on the trail of a black bear. Having thought that they had lost the bear, Roosevelt went back to camp, but Collier and his dogs kept searching. Collier and his dogs found the 235 pound bear, and the dogs circled it and began biting and attacking it. The bear killed one of the dogs, and Collier clubbed the bear over the head and tied it to a tree. He bugled for Roosevelt, who found the bear mauled from the the dogs, and refused to shoot it. He also forbade anyone else from shooting it, but as the bear was so injured, he had the bear put out of its misery by having it be killed with a hunting knife.

A few days later, a cartoon titled "Drawing the line in Mississippi", which showed Roosevelt refusing to shoot the bear, was drawn by Clifford Berryman, and appeared in the Washington Post. Rose and Morris Mitchom, store owners in New York City, saw the cartoon and were inspired to create the teddy bear, which they originally called "Teddy's bear". They eventually founded the Ideal Toy Company which produced the bears, and even allegedly wrote to Roosevelt asking his permission to use his name for their bear. About the same time as the Mitchom's debuted their bear, Richard Steiff of Germany created a stuffed teddy bear as well, which also became very popular.

Since the creation of the teddy bear, it has become one of the most iconic toys and comfort items for children, and has also been featured in songs, television shows, and movies. Teddy bears have also become important collector's items for adults. But, maybe adults don't just collect bears because of their monetary value. A recent study found that over half of adults still have their favorite stuffed animal they grew up with, 40% sleep with it by their side, and 70% said they want to keep it for the rest of their lives! That makes it pretty easy for them to take out their teddy bear and give it a hug today!

How to Observe Hug a Bear Day

Celebrate the day by hugging a teddy bear! Take out your own and wrap it up tight in your arms, or ask to borrow one that belongs to a friend. You could also visit a place to make your own teddy bear, such as Build-A-Bear, or simply buy a teddy bear at a store. Actually, you don't even have to buy a bear at the store, you could just hug all the bears a store has on display. If you are feeling really ambitious, you could sew your own teddy bear and then give it a hug.

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