It's no secret that dog is man's best friend, although one hound from the town of Castle Rock in Washington, US, can claim to hold the title of humankind's one true BFF, after local officials gave him VIP status and a licence to roam where other pets are not allowed.
Known simply as Bear Dog, the 18-year-old black Labrador mix is a local celebrity in his hometown, regularly receiving Christmas presents from strangers and even being described by mayor Paul Helenberg as "a legend".
Bear Dog's owner, Don Caulfield, insists he has no idea how his pet got to be so popular, but a sign has now been erected on a local sports ground saying: "No pets allowed inside baseball complex or soccer fields, except Bear Dog."
Mr Helenberg says plans are already in place to commemorate the popular pooch once he passes away, with the possibility of building a statue in his honour now being considered.
While strangers come from far and wide to spoil Bear Dog with food and treats, Mr Caulfield would be wise to limit the amount his pet eats, keeping him on a diet of specially-formulated dog food in order to ensure he stays fit and healthy.