Perhaps you’ve seen most of the photos already. I mean, how could you resist?
But if you haven’t yet, please meet Tinni and Sniffer. They have been dubbed the real-life “Fox and Hound.”
And it’s true – they are best friends and they see each other almost every day.
While the internet has allowed us to see interspecies friendships like never before, these relationships are still quite rare to witness.
Tinni and Sniffer’s story began about a year ago when guardian Torgeir Berge went on a walk with Tinni in a Norwegian forest and met young Sniffer when he was barely a year old.
What has remained unsaid until now is that Berge and Tinni originally ventured into the woods looking for something else, something far from heartwarming.
While loveable Sniffer was a happy addition to Berge and Tinni’s forest walk back in 2012, what they were actually searching for was illegal poison bait, Berge’s partner Berit Helberg tells OGP.
The use of poison bait has become a problem in Norway, and is contributing to the rapid decline of the country’s already fragile wolf population. According to veterinarian Siri Martinsen of Norwegian animal rights organization, NOAH, 30 to 60 wolves remain in Norway’s wilderness, and only three females are “allowed” to give birth every year.
Even with this small population, Martinsen tells OGP that “about half the adult wolves are estimated [to be] killed illegally … [and] poison is one of the illegal ways that wolves are killed.”
Searching for and removing poison bait from a local forest is just one way Berge and Tinni are trying to help animals.
The team, along with Helberg and now Sniffer, are also working together to educate people about the life of animals in the fur trade and to show the world that “a dog of the forest [has] the same reactions and movements as the dogs we look at as … man’s best friend,” Helberg writes about the pair.
Tinni and Sniffer’s tale and others, including the story about the hunt for poison bait, will be published in 2014 with photos from Berge and text by Helberg. The book will be in both Norwegian and English, since, as Helberg states, “we all live on the same planet and all animals need the voice of … humans.”
NOAH’s Martinsen reports that there are about one million animals, both foxes and minks, that are killed on Norwegian fur farms every year. And even though the Norwegian Veterinary Association has stated that the fur industry needs to shut its doors because of animal welfare concerns and over 60 percent of Norway’s population wants to see it stopped too, foxes like Sniffer and other animals are still living in cramped, barren cages until their short lives come to end when they are slaughtered for their fur.
A long-time animal lover and advocate, Helberg, expresses the following sentiment about this issue: “In 2013 humans don’t need fur to keep warm and we [definitely] don’t need it to look good. In the Stone Age, they used fur to survive but never had animals in cages like we do now. To steal the freedom of another creature is … a crime … To see how alike [Sniffer] and Tinni are, might make other people … see the similarity, and would they even think about letting their beloved dog liv[e] in a small, claustrophobic cage for all its life? Never…”
Tinni and Sniffer are not new to the campaign against fur. They have been on a poster for NOAH and their photos can also be found on jigsaw puzzles for another organization combating the fur industry called Aksjonen Rovviltets Røst.
Most recently, the pair has been featured in a new campaign video by NOAH that asks viewers to really think about this question: “What’s the difference between a fox and a dog?”
Ultimately, Berge and Helberg hope that Tinni and Sniffer’s unusual and heartwarming friendship “wake[s] something in people’s hearts.”
Join them in this effort, by sharing this post and NOAH’s stunning new campaign video below.
Image source: Torgeir Berge / Facebook