LAWRENCE, Kan. — After fighting for his life over the summer, 12-year-old Bear is back to enjoying the familiar sights and sounds around his Lawrence home.
Usually, it would be Don Brooks' brother, Daniel, following Bear, but the 66-year-old affectionally known as 'Danny' lost his life in August when a man stabbed him and Bear outside a grocery store.
Bear spent a month healing at the Lawrence Humane Society before returning home.
"I just tell him how much I miss Danny and how I'm glad he's here," Brooks said. "And he's been that one thing I really think that I needed, I didn't know that I was going to need him, but it's meant more to me than I realized."
When Bear returned home, it didn't take long for old friends and their owners to recognize him around the neighborhood.
"In fact, people that we see now I call ‘Bear’s Brigade.’ They’ve brought me as much joy as Bear has them, just them getting to see him kind of bring some normalcy I think back in their lives," Brooks said.
During their walks, they've encountered more than two dozen people who were at first strangers, but after sharing stories of Bear and Danny, eventually became friendly faces.
"He's provided again, not just me — but a number of people — some closure and the opportunity to know, again, that there's good stuff that happens in this world if you just let it, and hopefully they'll respond to that and be good to each other," Brooks said.
The Douglas County District Attorney's Office charged Robert Davis, 54, with first-degree murder and cruelty to animals.
"The case is stayed due to issues of competency of the defendant," Jill Jess, a spokesperson for the district attorney's office, wrote to KSHB 41 News in an email.
According to court records, Judge B. Kay Huff ordered Davis to Larned State Hospital for a competency examination during a hearing in October.
Another competency hearing is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2022, at 9 a.m.