During these first two weeks we fed him all of his food by hand. We spent a great deal of time flexing, extending and massaging his limbs. We also worked on improving the range of motion in his head, neck, feet, and toes. At no time did he ever try to bite us. He never got mad and was never afraid.
By day 14 our veterinarian felt he was strong enough to set his leg. Both large bones in his left hind leg were badly broken (see pictures above). The operation took almost five hours. She put rods through the center of the bones. It was a very big job, but everything went well.
By nature, bears are active and inquisitive. A big concern was that Frank was quite capable of pulling his stitches out. Even worse, if he did not keep his leg still for at least six weeks, the bones would not heal.
We kept him in a small enclosure to limit his movement.
He lay on a bed of quilts and had a pillow for his head. Our washer and dryer ran 24 hours a day. He loved his quilts and never destroyed them. It is hard to believe that a wild bear would accept being kept in a small area, and kept on a bed of quilts, but he did. He seemed to be grateful for all the help he was receiving. At no time did he give the impression that he was unhappy with his surroundings.
It was amazing that a wild bear could become so trusting of humans! He actually enjoyed our company.
In the days after the operation, he became stronger and more coordinated. He slowly regained the use of all his limbs. Frank was able to sit for a good part of the day and he was even able to scratch his head with his good hind foot!
His progress was both good and bad. He needed to stay off his broken leg in order for it to heal. One week after his operation, though, he was strong enough to stand up for the first time. There was no stopping him - but he learned to hobble around without putting pressure on his bad leg.
For Frank the best part of his recuperation was the menu. He was eating things he never knew existed. Frank loved peanuts and fruit, especially peaches, watermelons, and strawberries.
In the beginning, he liked chicken hearts and livers, but after a while gave them up. We offered him all types of meat, but he is not a meat eater.
Frank had to take many pills every day for pain and possible infection. We hid them inside jelly donuts. It was all fine with him, so long as there was plenty of jelly in the jelly donuts. If he tasted the pill, he would be so offended! He would open his mouth as wide as he could and leave it open for five minutes, so as a result, we made sure to always have extra jelly for the jelly donuts!
In the early days, we used a syringe to give him water, but after one week he would not take it that way anymore. Although he ate a lot of juicy fruits, he never drank water. It was not until day 28 that he first drank water.
Two weeks after his operation, it was time for Jim and I to go to our first fair (our resident bears participate in an educational program and we travel with them a few times a year).