Happy birthday to THE Baylor Bears — Joy & Lady!
Can you believe it? Joy, the elder of our two beloved American black bears, is celebrating her 20th birthday today!
Joy — officially Judge Joy Reynolds — was born on Jan. 27, 2001; her sister, Judge Sue Sloan (“Lady”), was born a year and four days later (Jan. 31, 2002), and so turns 19 later this week. The bears came to the Baylor campus two decades ago from a private Oregon ranch when they were each about four months old. At that age, taking care of the bears was much like taking care of any baby — minus the milk guzzling and 30-pound weight. Their Chamber-member trainers learned what life was like as single parents for the few months the bears needed constant attention. Mornings began at 8 a.m. with the first formula feeding of the day, five hours of exploring and walking around campus, then another feeding.
With her wide ears and big brown eyes, one look was all it took for people to fall in love with Joy, who has always been more cuddly than her younger sister; she used to curl up in the arms of her namesake, Joy Reynolds (the wife of former President Herbert Reynolds). Lady (named for the wife of former President Robert Sloan) has long been more rambunctious, constantly trying to get into things.
Today, Joy and Lady live in the Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat, a Class C Zoo regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture located right in the heart of campus. They also spend regular time at a larger secondary facility located off campus, where they have more room to roam. (For the past 12+ months, Lady has been receiving special care following a couple of health scares. Her latest updates have been positive, and her rehabilitation is continuing.)
Sic ’em, Joy and Lady!