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By BECCA OWSLEY
ELIZABETHTOWN — Life for Bear changed drastically around seven years ago. A border collie, Bear was the devoted friend to a Hart County farmer and was always by his side.
The two were inseparable as they rode around town or worked on the farm together, but one tragic day changed that. As his master drove a tractor through the fields, Bear, then known as Jim, followed faithfully behind until it happened.
The tractor flipped over onto the farmer, resulting in his death.
Bear remained devoted until the end. He stayed by his master’s side, whimpering until emergency crews arrived. The dog had to be physically removed from the farmer, unwilling to leave his master.
The farmer’s wife could not keep the dog because he was a constant reminder of what had happened that day. Bear passed through a couple of different hands until the Trumbo family of Elizabethtown answered an ad in the paper and took him in.
He instantly became a loyal friend to the family and has lived with them for seven years.
His friends at Heartland Veterinary Hospital, knowing how special Bear was, decided to nominate him for the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Hospital Animal Hall of Fame.
Bear received honorable mention in the statewide competition. On Oct. 4, the dog received his award and his family is very proud.
“A person never knows what they have in a dog until they spend a little time with them and then they find out they have a gem,” Terry, Bear’s owner, said.
Bear’s vet, Dr. Will Flanagan, is proud of him and his owners and feels Bear is one of the nicest dogs that comes to his office.
Robin King works at the animal hospital and was happy with Bear’s fame.
“I felt he was so deserving and it’s not an easy task among all the nominations,” King said.
She feels pets often are overlooked and their loyalty disregarded. To King, Bear is an example of how good a friend a dog can be.
“When he comes in the door, that’s a smile, he lifts all of our days,” King said. “His devotion is immeasurable.”
The Trumbos are glad they adopted Bear and consider him part of the family.
“We hung on to him and found out we have one of the world’s best dogs,” Terry said. “He’s loyal, right beside your side and you just couldn’t ask for a better friend.”
Cindy Trumbo has noticed that Bear has no enemies and is always helpful when she has had a bad day.
“You meet him and fall in love with him,” Cindy said. “It’s therapy itself to love on this dog.”
Bear’s loyalty has always been a part of his life with the Trumbos but now he has been publicly recognized for his heart. His family said people who don’t like dogs have come by and, within minutes, are petting on Bear.
“He melts your heart,” Terry said.
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741.