Yang had been walking alone through the woods on his usual foraging trips when he came across the pup. It was tiny and helpless. He looked around, trying to find its mother, but the pair were completely alone.
Its eyes were barely even open as it lay there, splaying its legs out, its pitiful cries ringing through the woods. Yang picked it up and took it with him, never realizing that this wasn’t actually a puppy.
Xinmin Yang lived a simple life in a rural part of China. Providing for a family of five wasn’t easy, and the older man often relied on the local woods for extra food. Luckily, Yang’s family had lived in the area for decades, and he knew the local woods well.
Since Yang knew how to navigate his way through the woods, he also knew the best spots for foraging. However, the woods could sometimes be an unsafe place too.
Like his father before him, Yang knew which parts of the woods to avoid. Yang and his family were unaccustomed to the bustling metropolises of modern China.
While the country grew economically, Yang’s family stuck to their traditional roots. However, through the years, the region had changed quite significantly, and the cost of progress had taken its toll on them.
When Yang’s parents and grandparents lived here, the woods and surrounding areas were like a village. Different families once had their homes there, and the area was a little rural community.
Over time, big city developments began encroaching into the rural land more. It started with patches of the woods being cut down to make more space for urbanization. Before long, things got worse.
As the land and wooded areas grew sparser, the life people had always known there became more difficult. The ingredients and supplies needed to survive were now harder to find.
One by one, the families grew more dissatisfied. Yang and his family remained committed to their home. However, it was soon apparent that not everyone else was.
Frustrated by the increasing lack of resources, families soon began moving out of the area in search of a better place to make a life. The worst part was that the companies and developments responsible for the exodus offered something more.
Soon, the remaining families became seduced by the prospect of finding work in nearby urban areas. Just like that, within a few short years, an entire way of life was gone.
Yang was a traditionalist and someone too set in his routines to ever change them. Even when it seemed that his family would be the last ones left in the woods, he stubbornly refused to move them.
Yang enjoyed the simplicity of fending for himself. Even if life was more challenging, being the only ones left meant the little patches of woods left were theirs to forage freely. That was how he came to be roaming the woods by himself one day.
It began as an ordinary day in the woods. Yang left home early and began trudging through the woods, searching for mushrooms to pick.
He had just spotted some when a strange sound caught his ears. It sounded like a baby crying, only it wasn’t human. Following the sound, Yang came across the little animal. Mistaking it for a dog, he picked it up.
Yang searched for a mother or other “pups” but found none. Realizing that a larger animal could easily pick off the little animal if he left it there, Yang decided to take it home.
It was tiny, had black fur, and looked like a cute puppy to him. When he reached home, his kids were ecstatic at his find. Believing it to be a little puppy, the family was blissfully unaware that they were dealing with something completely different.
The animal was so tiny and helpless that it could not even open its eyes fully. Yang knew it would not have survived if he had left it behind.
Together, the family began to nurse and care for it. At first, it was difficult to feed it. However, after a few days of constant care by Yang’s family, something amazing happened.
The animal finally opened its eyes. Believing the Yang family to be its own family, the little “pup” became more submissive to them. Feeding and caring for him was more manageable, and he soon began to grow.
The family raised the animal as their pet. To their minds, he was their daily dog. However, as the animal grew, Yang and his family were stunned when they realized this was no dog.
As it grew, Yang became concerned when he noticed that its claws and teeth were larger and shaped differently from a dog’s. Yang knew he had to do something and took it out of the woods to a friend he had in the city.
The animal was thoroughly examined, and Yang was given the surprise of a lifetime. After being checked by a professional, Yang learned that his “puppy” was actually a bear cub.
After telling the family, Yang faced a difficult decision. His kids had grown attached to the bear. Raising it had brought the family much joy, and it felt like a real pet in every other way.
Now that Yang knew it was actually a dangerous animal that would grow much larger, he had no idea what to do. After giving it much thought, Yang finally understood what he had to do.
The Yang family had never allowed any developments around them to faze them before. If anyone was equipped to have such an unusual pet, it was this family.
Yang’s kids were thrilled when he decided to keep it. Constructing a makeshift cage for the animal, the family made a remarkable choice to keep the bear for a while. However, Yang’s friend explained that this could only be a temporary arrangement.
As the cub was identified as an Asian black bear, Yang was informed that it was a protected species. Yang’s friend managed to arrange a forever home for the fortunate animal. After raising the bear for a long time, Yang and his family finally gave it up.
It had grown quite large by then but loved the family as any other pet would. The bear was eventually moved to an animal sanctuary. Meanwhile, Yang and his family were commended for rescuing and caring for it all that time.