‘Lady, The Miracle Bear’ documents BU’s beloved black bear’s health journey
Lady and Joy have been called “the world’s most beloved black bears,” and that love was manifested in the prayers and support the Baylor Family showed Lady over the past two years during a pair of health concerns. But even the most devoted fans of Baylor’s bears may not know the full story of Lady’s path back to wellness, which included a series of procedures and processes that literally no bear in the world had ever benefitted from before.
Now, Lady’s health journey has been captured in Lady: The Miracle Bear, a 19-minute documentary featuring conversations with her caretakers on campus and the veterinary doctors at Texas A&M who treated her. Throughout, viewers get to know Lady’s personality, feel the love that her Baylor caretakers have for her and Joy, appreciate the deep level of care she received, and understand just why she’s called a “miracle bear.”
In June 2019, doctors found a benign mass next to Lady’s heart. The risks of an operation were too great, so she underwent an innovative radiation treatment called tomotherapy in both August and December of that year. She is believed to be the first bear to undergo that treatment, which paid dividends — the mass shrank, and she was able to return to her Baylor home.
Last summer, Lady experienced another challenge. Caregivers noticed that her movement around the habitat was becoming abnormal, and doctors found a cyst that had developed around her spinal column, challenging her mobility. In August 2020, doctors removed the cyst and created a recovery and rehabilitation plan that has proven successful.
Lady: The Miracle Bear shows viewers the full extent of that journey, which included more than a few frightening moments and tears from the team that cares for her. The documentary also demonstrates the potential impact of her challenges; doctors say that what they have learned from her groundbreaking treatment will benefit animals long into the future.
Live bears have been a part of the Baylor Family for over 100 years, but Lady is unique. Dakota Farquhar-Caddell (BBA ’11), the Robert L. Reid Director of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce who supervises the team of student caregivers, put it this way: “No bear in the world has done what Lady has done… This tremendous spirit of grit and resilience is unmatched by any bear, any animal care team, any veterinary team in the world.”
Sic ’em, Lady and Lady’s caretakers!