Teton Totem, a coastal brown bear, came to us as a child of divorce. A woman had bred him for movie work, but then had to move and was unable to take care of him. Our resident celebrity, he appeared in commercials, professional photo shoots, and documentary films. Well into his twenties, he was a seasoned emissary for his bear constituency, often moving people to tears with his gentle, powerful presence. Remarkably, he invented a kind of bear sign language, with which he communicated his wants to humans. He was also seen doing bear yoga to stretch his back, which was once injured. He loved pears and mangos.
The day I was told of the passing of Teton Totem, one of Earthfire’s resident grizzly bears, many emotions washed through me: sadness, shock, and disbelief. However, what resounded within me as I made myself go through the motions of my day was an aching sense of regret. His death