I've always thought of myself as one of those little bear cubs who gets stolen from it's den in the middle of winter. Next thing the bear knows, it's living with strangers not it's own kind and has a chain around it's neck. As the bear grows, it's taught (well had them beaten into) tricks so that it can perform for whomever the strangers want to impress, and make believe the bear is well cared for, and happy in captivity.
The audience never sees (or just seems to ignore) behind the stage that the bear often gets walloped, not fed or locked in a filthy cage.
The strange thing with bears is, they are prone to gnawing through the chain when they finally reach maturity and running off.
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