Recently I had the opportunity to be part of a media group accompanying biologists from the Pennsylvania Game Commission to a winter bear den.
While the biologists did their work with the mother - aging, blood sample, physical exam and the like - the rest of us got to cuddle her two bear cubs to keep them warm.
It's standard practice in the agency's work with bears, and they've had no ill effects on mothers or cubs in several decades of work.
It's great PR for the agency, and a real wowser for those of us who get to tag along.
The science of it all - what the biologists have learned about bears and bear biology - is wonderful and exciting, but when you're holding one of those cubs that all takes a back seat, at least for the moment.