Mark Dumas and his wife, Dawn, are fearless animal handlers at Beyond Just Bears in Canada, whose unusual pet is a polar bear named Agee.
Agee is a 60-stone (800lb) polar bear that they’ve managed to train to star in high-budget TV adverts and movies. She’s also often seen messing about with Mark, giving him bear hugs, accepting loving kisses and even swimming with him.
But Mark reckons it’s down to much more than just being brave and ballsy around such large, potentially dangerous animals – and that it’s down to decades of forging a strong friendship.
Speaking to LADbible, Mark said that he’s been with Agee her whole life – which he also argues is longer thanks to her way of life with him.
“Agee has lived with me for her whole life,” he tells us. “She’s always there. I’m with her until she passes or I pass. I mean, that’s just the way it is.”
“Aggy’s life is a really good life. She doesn’t have to hunt, all the groceries are brought to her and it’s top-quality food. There’s not a matter of having to go out on the ice and kill something – she doesn’t do that.
“She actually enjoys going to work. When I pull the trailer out she gets very excited about the fact that the trailer is there and she’s gonna go somewhere.
“You know, and she’s not in a zoo where she just has all the same things. She gets out – like this one job we have that’s plausible right now, she’s gonna go and play in the snow.”
What about any hairy moments, surely an inevitable side effect to owning such a large animal?
“No, I mean she bit me when she was young, but that’s to be expected,” says Mark.
“You can’t teach them to not do something unless they’ve done it. So with baby bears you’re gonna get bit. That’s just how baby bears are.
“That’s how you teach them. Even with humans you have to teach a baby not to bite you.”