Meet “Quiet ‘But Not Shy’ Arnad Fuzz Bear”
December 2017 Line Up
“Arnad is on the right to Mickey looking at the photo.”
Then in October he took up position beside Bruno [Big Red nose is Bruno]
“Quiet ‘But Not Shy’ Arnad Fuzz Bear”
Sophie is not the owner’s real name.
Arnad, was in fact my first ever rescue in 1997 – before l go into that – here are a few things Arnad likes … he loves the colour blue, hence the ribbon around his neck, he would have had blue originally, but when l found him he didn’t, so that was replaced so he felt like him again. He loves cookies, not to eat, but he just loves them – he has an ancient scent to him- that even in all of this time, it has never shifted, but it has now blended to a warm dusty musty scent – not in a bad way, but in a homely fashion.
He isn’t shy as Sophie dictated to me when l found him, but he is quiet – he doesn’t say much – but this doesn’t mean, he doesn’t talk – he does, you just have to know how to listen and a lot of people don’t, and the little girl who originally owned him – well, she didn’t know how to listen either which upset him a lot. But l see him, most evenings in happy and lively and animated conversation with Mickey and Henry, Joodles, Bruno, Sammy and the rest of the gang. He has a real soft spot for classical music as it soothes him, but he is not adverse to other genres which is just as well considering the eclectic range l play here some days.
I do know however, that he is happy, way happier here than he ever was with the little girl. I guess if l had to age him, he is roughly late twenties, l guess that would now make Sophie early thirties, l wonder if she ever goes back in her memories, to that rainy day in 1997 when a strange man asked her why she was kicking the bear around the pavement and yelling at him? Probably not, but maybe, it would be nice to think she gave Arnad a second thought after he was rescued.
He was the first buddy to Henry and Mickey, which is kind of fitting as he is a Ty Beanie Buddy – which became quite popular at first as toys in the mid 90’s and then they started to be collected – they were considered to be investment pieces, not the entire range of course, just some. Arnad was the name l awarded him upon his rescue and Fuzz Bear was his creation name. He was known as just “The Shy Bear” when l first came across the cruelty that was being beaten into him. Of course, ‘Cruelty’ is my description of the events, and neither Sophie nor her parents would agree to that “It’s just a bear, ” Her mother said, “I agree she shouldn’t be kicking him around the pavement, but it’s just a toy!”
I told her l disagreed, that l felt it wasn’t fair to the bear to be treated this way, it was a creature of comfort that awarded love. Of course, l was met with the usual eye rolls, and had my ex-wife not been with me at the time, l felt sure the parents were going to call the police to come and pick up this “wacky guy who was into teddy bears!”
“I am not into teddy bears , but l am a bear enthusiast, and l just think that they have the right to be loved and not subjected to this kind of treatment from uncaring children.” I answered. I was, thinking back, quite heated about my determinations of how this bear should not be treated, but it saddened me …
It was 1997, and at the time l was living in Market Deeping in Lincolnshire, l had been married for three years and was just starting on my business with the commercial breeding of small animals for the superstores in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. My wife had driven me into the store there and it was on our way home, that l saw the most bizarre moment and it struck me as just wrong .. to see a little girl on a rainy day in a bright yellow coat and red Wellington boots kicking a teddy bear through the puddles outside the houses!
“Stop the car!” I said to my wife, “That’s unacceptable behaviour!”
With the car stopped, l quickly ran back to where the yellow raincoat was abusing the bear, “What are you doing, why are you kicking the bear?” I asked her.
“He’s shy, l need a bear that talks, he is too quiet, l don’t like him!” She snapped at me “Why, what’s it too you!”
I bent down and picked up the bedraggled bear, my wife had just caught up to me and was standing behind me. “Rory, this isn’t right, it’s the little girl’s bear, she can do as she wishes!” She said.
I looked at this poor soaked little bear and my heart just broke. I thought of Henry and Mickey at home, and thought why , why are children so cruel? What has this bear done to warrant this kind of treatment? All it wants is to be loved. It was at that point that the parents came down the stairs and demanded to know what was going on .. which of course, was perfectly fair as a question – in so far as ‘correctness’, but it didn’t make it any more fair for the bear.
I explained the situation and the father looked at me, and l thought he was going to knock my head off my shoulders, it was a glare that said “Just one more word buddy and your life as you know it is over!” It was the mother who spoke first … “Sophie you shouldn’t be treating the bear like this, l have got to wash it now.” Handing the bear back to the little girl.
“I don’t care, l don’t want the stupid bear anyway – throw it away!” With that she tossed the bear into the road, where upon a car ran straight over it!
Well three adults, including my ex were stunned by this little girl’s behaviour. I wasn’t, l knew this bear deserved a better life, and quickly ran out to the middle of the road and picked up the wet, worn, bedragged and practically flattened teddy bear. Bringing it back to the path, l simply said “Look, you can’t do this, if you don’t want it, let me have it?”
“Oh right, so you are going to ‘rescue the bear are you, like some hero, a martyr for abused bears!” The Father shouted at me.
I hadn’t thought about it like that, but what he said was the truth, l wanted to rescue this bear, l didn’t know why, except, it deserved better than this … and it needed a friend, it needed bear friends too. He wasn’t shy, he was misunderstood, l could relate to that … l had grown up completely misunderstood by everybody and so l knew what this bear must have felt like .. “Yeah, actually l guess l do .. l would like to rescue this bear from your daughter.”
Well he looked at me long and hard and l guess he was perhaps wondering if l was some kind of odd ball … “Alright, how much have you got?”
“Sorry?” I asked confused.
“What’s the bear worth to you?” The father asked of me.
At this point, my wife just pulled at my arm, and said “Let’s go!”
I stood my ground, “I am rescuing the bear, not buying the bear. Your daughter doesn’t want the bear, you don’t care about the bear, l am NOT buying this lost bear!”
My wife let go of me, “Rory, it’s a toy, this guy is twice your size – it’s a toy bear!!”
“I don’t care, the bear is leaving with me and you are not going to stop me!” I glared back at the guy, completely ready somewhat stupidly to defend this bear’s rights!
The father looked like he was ready to pounce, when suddenly the wife stepped in “John! It’s a bear, a toy bear, the pair of you are grown ups, you are going to fight over a toy bear?? Have l got that right?” With that she looked at me, my wife, her daughter , her husband and the bear and said ” Piss off the pair of you and take the bloody bear!”
“Thank you, the bear says thank you as well.” I said, smiled and walked off towards the car.
Once in, my wife turned to me and gave me a look that l had never seen before, “You are off your trolley, don’t expect me to join you on any more bear rescues, you are more dangerous than the little girl!” A decade later, she would say to me, “I always knew you were strange, l remember that stupid bear day, and now look at them, this amongst other reasons, is why l want a divorce! You are just too weird for words!”
My bears and l have lasting friendship, thank goodness Suze understands!!
I don’t know why, l named him Arnad, it just fitted, but he isn’t shy, he is just a quiet Fuzz Bear. But he was my first ever rescue.