When a legendary stray dog in Texas was going to lose the field that he called home to construction, the whole community stepped up to track him down and give him a loving family (video below).
Bear, also called "Big Red Bear," had been roaming Hutto, Texas, since 2010, likely abandoned when his owners moved away, notes KTBC. For years, the clever pup was able to evade Animal Control and avoid traps and other people, making it nearly impossible to catch him.
"He's a survivor, that for sure," a Hutto resident told KTBC. "He's smart. He stays out of the way, stays out of the streets, avoids people, and you know, everyone has grown kind of fond of him."
The big shaggy dog used to avoid people, although neighbor Irma Mendoza soon changed that.
"It all started a couple of years ago when my mom found Bear by the block where we live," said Alfonso Salinas, Mendoza's son. "But she found him and after that she just started to feed him and try to take care of him."
For more than five years, Mendoza would bring food to Bear's field daily, and she would also give him annual medication. She even left him a doghouse for shelter.
"This dog is pretty much a family member by now," said Salinas, according to Shareably.
Over the years, people started spending time with him and pitching in to leave him supplies.
"He's not aggressive, he doesn't growl, he doesn't bark, he doesn't try to bite anyone, he just keeps to himself," neighbor Niroshinini Glass told KVUE. "He's like a celebrity dog."
In late 2016, a construction project was going to wipe out Bear's field, so Mendoza and Bear's archenemy, Hutto Animal Control officer Wayne Cunningham, decided to team up to find him a permanent home.
That's when Glass stepped up and offered to foster Bear and make him a "very spoiled" dog.
"If he has been through all of this and he is still going strong," she told KTBC. "He is not skin and bones, thanks to Irma, I mean he deserves to be in a loving home and being able to adapt to people."
Just before the holidays, Cunningham and Mendoza were finally able to catch the stray. After spending some time with a vet and a groomer, the pup was taken to Glass, though Mendoza has expressed interest in permanently caring for the pup.
Unfortunately, the old dog has been battling cancer since January, but Glass said that he's been doing well.
"He's not in pain, he's not hurting," she told KVUE. "He's doing really good, he plays, he eats -- he's just like a little young pup. He comes when he's called, he loves car rides -- I don't have to coaxed him into anything -- he follows me."