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A little TLC

August 18, 2009

Spotted at the weekend in the window of the Toy Museum in the lovely Cotswold town of Stow-on-the-Wold. Not only do they repair bears, but they do it with TLC! (Is there really any other way to repair a bear?)

Taking this snapshot reminded me of the opening of the first hotel for teddy bears last year in Beaulieu in the UK. At the Bartie Bristle Hotel and Spa “guests reside in their own delightfully refurbished apple crate complete with soft furnishings and tasteful artwork.” I remember there was an awful lot of fuss in the media when this “hotel” was launched. The press seemed either to wilfully misinterpret or get the wrong end of the stick about this enterprise. You would have thought it would be obvious that this was an imaginatively whimsical bear repair service, but styled as a hotel rather than the more usual bear hospital. But newspapers ran stories focusing on the extravagances on offer “from scented steam baths to the finest Champagne” and readers suitably disgusted left comments on how shocking this debauched teddy lifestyle was and literally asked “what has our society come to?”

But of course it’s not all just decadent living and steam baths being a ted. An intriguing intitiative set up by the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations runs Bear Clinics. Children bring in their teddy bears and trainee doctors diagnose the teddies’ ailments, bandage them up and prescribe medicinal sweets. The initiative is aimed at reducing any anxiety children may have about a hospital environment and medical procedures, and gives medical students valuable experience communicating with children. (More about the project and a list of participants worldwide is here.) Proof that decadent teds can indeed make a difference and give back to the community.

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