PLAINVILLE, Conn. (WTNH) – A Connecticut family who discovered a black bear hibernating under their deck has welcomed the animal to stay — as long as the bear remains a respectful tenant.

A little over a week ago, Vincent Dashukewich and his girlfriend were in their backyard when their dog began growling at something near the pool. When Dashukewich went to investigate, he saw a black bear staring back at him from underneath the pool’s deck.

“I didn’t really have a thought, I was just kind of shocked,” Dashukewich told Nexstar’s WTNH. “He was staring right at me. I didn’t know what to do, I just wanted to make sure my dog got inside safe.”

Unlike other bears Dashukewich had seen in the backyard, this one doesn’t appear interested in returning to the forest. 

“He’s been super chill, I’ve gone out to check on him a few times and he hasn’t really moved,” Dashukewich has said of the bear, who he’s nicknamed “Marty.”

“He’s looked at me a few times but he’s pretty calm right now.”

Dashukewich’s sister Tyler posted a video of the bear on TikTok. As of Saturday, the video had well over 13 million views. Thousands of people have also left comments, some giving their advice. 

“They’re like, ‘Go feed it, make him a pet.’ But I’m going to be realistic,” Tyler Dashukewich said. 

“It’s pretty divided so far, half the people are like, ‘This is the scariest thing ever,’ and the other half are like, ‘Can you pet it? It looks so cuddly.’ So we’re trying to keep our distance, but he is cute,” Vincent Dashukewich said.  

He says an employee with Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEEP) told him to let the bear be if it wasn’t causing issues, and that it’s likely the animal would leave by the end of January. 

If the bear does cause issues, the agency told him that blowing an air horn and flashing bright lights could get him to leave. If all else fails, DEEP will come and remove the bear, they said.

The agency warns, however, to never approach or feed a bear near your home, as bears will defend themselves if a person gets too close. If a black bear does approach you, DEEP advises you to go on the offensive by shouting at it or waving your arms, and walking slowly away.

Connecticut’s DEEP has also published additional information on bear safety and deterring the animals from your home.