The Legacy of Pooky the Teddy Bear
Brian Kuhta (’86) fondly calls the teddy bear’s charcoal-black “scar” on his left backside a birthmark. Significantly smaller than it once was, the wound is a time capsule of the Teddy Bear’s adventures at Gonzaga University – one of which almost set the Bozarth Mansion ablaze.
Everyone knew who the Teddy Bear was. In fact, was better known at Gonzaga than his owner for many years, Kuhta joked. Kuhta’s long-distance girlfriend and current wife, Patty Carlson, gifted him before his freshman year.
was “… a little embarrassing … there were not a lot of teddy bears in guys’ rooms in Catherine Monica in 1982,” Kuhta laughed.
But unlike some gifts, wasn’t an idle dorm decoration for long. accompanied Kuhta in service through the Tuck & Tails Fundraiser, a Campion Hall fundraiser where students, often paid for by their roommates, received a bedtime story. Then came the retreats.
“It was just on a whim I took him on Pilgrimage,” Kuhta said.
Kuhta recalls carefully nesting into his daypack to enjoy the view while the group trekked through North Idaho to the Cataldo Mission. fluffy head poked out of the backpack, adorned with his own personalized nametag. first Pilgrimage was even notable enough for KHQ-TV to cover him in a news story.
Kuhta, a self-professed “retreat junkie,” took on two Pilgrimages and at least four Search Retreats. Though mostly fun and games, at one of these Search Retreats students bear-knapped and hid him in a chandelier in Bozarth Mansion. One of the culprits noticed the smoke and quickly removed him before disaster struck.
Fortunately for both Bozarth and the bear, survived with minimal harm. He now sits on a bookshelf in a house full of stuffed animals, mostly owned by Kuhta’s 24-year-old daughter who’s studying to be a veterinarian. When Kuhta’s kids were younger, they asked about the burn and shared stories of their adventures.