The Teddy Bear Hospital in Dorset, UK is overflowing with work

The Teddy Bear Hospital in Dorset, UK is overflowing with work
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / Christiaan Triebert

The Teddy Bear Hospital in Dorset, UK is having such a high demand it can’t cope. Alice’s Bear Shop shows people do really care about their stuffed animals.

The shop is the place to go if your stuffed animals need some repairs or other types of “medical attention”. But be prepared, there’s now a four month waiting list, DailyMail reports.

There’s a team of bear “doctors and nurses” who do all types of work. They can simply stitch up a few parts that have come loose. But they can and also do more complex repairs like complete restuffings, changing damaged fur and fabrics and other.

Rikey Austin is the owner of the shop and opened it 17 years ago. She says the demand has really picked up over the past three years. She says that’s because most toy hospitals in Britain have gone out of business. At the same time though, the value of Steiff bears and other classic stuffed animals has gone up. More and more people are returning to their favorite stuffies.

And that’s not only in the UK. Rikey says she now receives damaged stuffed animals from all over the world, including the US, Australia, Africa and Europe. Her teddy bear hospital has treated the toys of celebrities, too. Actress Emma Thompson was a client.

The team really puts a lot of effort in every toy they receive. All stuffed animals go through a 48 hour quarantine and a treatment with bug spray. Then the real work begins. It can take anywhere from a few hours for simple repairs to several weeks.

The most difficult repair ever was a teddy bear which had a run in with a lawn mower. This repair took three months. And it only cost £5. But that’s only because the teddy bear was owned by a young boy who said he will have to pay with his own money. Otherwise it costs about £300 per week, so it’s not cheap. But teddy bears and stuffed animals can be like a member of the family, so…

The teddy bear doctors say they try to preserve the original look and feel of each toy. This means they don’t go for the most brand new and pristine look. They also get to learn about the incredible stories of many toys. Some date back to World War II or simply carry unique personal experiences. That’s why stuffed animals are so important to us. They know our history.