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Backyard Blogging.

The Story of Samson the Hot Tub Bear

Animals like the water just as much as we do – pool and spa water, that is! We’re going to share an anecdote of a very famous bear. Here’s the story of Samson the Hot Tub Bear.

Samson Likes to Soak

The most famous resident of Monrovia, California, in 1994, Samson, a cinnamon-colored bear was videotaped lounging in a local resident’s backyard hot tub. Much to the delight of the homeowner and locals, Samson, took spa breaks on a daily basis for more than a month.

Once the local news got involved, Samson’s fame and popularity grew.

Samson Gets Sick

Unfortunately, Samson’s forays into town also involved rummaging through the trash. After he’d spent several months hopping from the pool to the hot tub, he ate a plastic bag and got ill.

Samson Sentenced to Die

The California State Department of Fish and Game captured him soon after. This aged, toothless bear soon grew so used to people feeding and caring for him, that he couldn’t be released into the wild. So…he was sentenced to death.

Outraged Monrovians came to his aid. Samson soon became an international celebrity as his humans fought for his life.


The world came to his aid when he was in need. Forest DeSpain, Director of the Orange County Zoo, got donations from people worldwide. He created an enclosure complete with a hot tub. Samson lived there until his death of old age on May 14, 2001.

Samson is probably the most famous furry resident of Monrovia. Books have celebrated his unusual life. A bronze statue was even erected in Canyon Park near the zoo’s entrance in his honor.

Serious Hydrotherapy

Animals soaking in our hot tubs and swimming pools is cute and adorable! Did you know that some animal daycare centers and boarding kennels offer swimming pools as amenities for their four-legged guests?

Some veterinarians, so impressed with the power of hydrotherapy for humans, are using therapy spas to treat animals like dogs and horses with hip problems.

Humane Society Recommendations

The Humane Society, concerned with animal safety, recommends building a sun shelf or beach entry for easy entry and exit to your swimming pool. You could try using chaise lounges or deflated pool tools as substitute ramps. You can also use a pool safety cover or spa cover if you want to keep all unsupervised animals out of the water.

Looking for a spa or hot tub of your own? Stop by one of our three locations to learn about all the health benefits!

Information from and Monrovia Public Library.

Photo from Monrovia Public Library.