BEAR CARE . . . senior solicitor Valerie McElroy, left, and colleague Nicola Stephen at the Irish Street, Dumfries offices
But cuddly soft toys, packing every spare corner of Gillespie Gifford and Brown’s Irish Street premises, are welcome guests.
Solicitors and other staff are supporting an appeal to provide teddies for needy children in deprived areas of the world.
It follows the recent launch of an appeal ‘A Million Teddies for Wojtek’ by Dumfriesshire-born author Aileen Orr.
She has highlighted and written a book on the previously little known true story of a highly-intelligent large Syrian Brown Bear called Wojtek, which served with Polish forces during World War Two.
Not only did he help carry ammunition boxes and do other tasks, the working bear was mascot for the units as they fought their way with the allies in the Middle East and in Europe.
Post-war, he was shipped from Italy to the UK, settling with the Poles at a camp in the Scottish Borders.
A delighted Aileen welcomed the massive response from local people, who supported the appeal for new and pre-loved bears after an article appeared in the Dumfries Courier.
She said: “It seems to have captured the imagination.”
Solicitor Valerie McElroy, senior partner based at the Dumfries office, said: “When Aileen asked if we could act as a dropping off point we were delighted to help because it is such a good cause.
“I must admit at that stage I thought we would receive a dozen or so but I’ve been amazed by the response — it runs into hundreds and we are still receiving bears.
“We’ve filled one room and are useing spare space elsewhere. We’ve also put up a display featuring a laminated copy of the original Courier article to explain to clients what is happening.”
Valerie added that Aileen would shortly be bringing a large vehicle from her Berwickshire home to collect the teddies but the office would continue after that to be a dropping off point.