You can't teach an old dog new tricks, but an animal trainer from New Hampshire proves you can teach a bear just about anything.
A trained bear at Clark's Trading Post has learned a new trick that will help raise money to care for animals.
Trainers have taught the black bear, named Echo, to spin a drum and draw a raffle ticket out of it. The person whose ticket is drawn will win a teddy bear made from real bear hair.
Maureen Clark said that she began training Echo about a week ago.
"I started to teach her to spin it, which she learned right away," Clark said. "The next trick was to get her to pick out one ticket — just one."
Echo will be drawing the ticket for real on Monday.
Clark's trading post came up with the idea of making a teddy bear out of real bear hair to raise money for the Lancaster Humane Society.
Clark's sister, Nola Grant, knit the teddy bear, and the hair came from another resident bear, Victoria. Grant said the hair was easily available from grooming the bear.
The teddy bear took about 20 hours to knit, but Grant said it was worth it to help a worthy cause.
"While I was knitting, my pug dog sat beside me smelling the bear hair and wondering what on Earth I was doing," Grant said. "I feel very good about it because we all love animals here and we've just been really happy it's going to a good cause," Clark said.
So far the raffle has raised more than $11,000. On Monday, all eyes will be on Echo as she performs her new trick by picking the winning ticket.
Clark did not mention if the bear is being considered to replace the Tennessee Lottery's computerized drawing, but it does seem to be more reliable.