Real-life ‘Fox and Hound’ enchant people on the web

It sounds like something right out of a fairy tale, and is in fact the story told in a popular Disney film, The Fox and the Hound, but a real-life animal pair from Norway is making headlines today for proving that even animals meant to be natural enemies can become the best of friends.

Since Tinni, a German Shepherd, met fox Snusen, the animals do everything together. (Photo credit: Torgeir Berge Facebook Page)

Norwegian photographer Torgeir Berge was out for a forest walk with his German Shepherd, Tinni, last summer when the pair stumbled upon something amazing — a baby fox.

Berge scoured the area for any sign of the fox’s mother, but found no sign of her. Berge took the young kit under his wing, naming the little guy Snusen (which roughly translates to “Sniffer”). While Berge certainly began to forge a bond with little Snusen, it was Tinni who became the small fox’s fast friend.

“He was a puppy and probably his mother had died, so he sought help and company, and food,” fellow photographer Berit Helberg tells TODAY.com of Snusen.

Berge and Tinni often travel through the forest to visit with little Snusen. Tinni and Snusen wrestle together, walk together, nap together, and often play together — creating many excellent photo opportunities.

“The photos are not staged,” Helberg tells English language Norwegian news source, The Local. “[Berge] just takes a walk in the forest with Tinni, his dog, and when he whistles the fox Snusen comes to play. They do whatever they please and they have never fought. Snusen is a real wild fox, coming and going as he pleases.”

Berge has posted his collection of extraordinary images on his Facebook page. He and Helberg hope to turn the photos into a children’s book so Tinni and Snusen’s friendship can continue to inspire people for years to come.

“Not many people are privileged to see and enjoy a friendship like this, but Torgeir Berge has both seen them in action and gotten the opportunity to catch this in images that don’t need words,” Helberg writes in a post on her website.

Berge and Helberg have another important reason for memorializing this special friendship on the page – to fight against the fox-fur trade. Norwegian animal rights organization NOAH estimates that there are close to 1 million animals, including minks and foxes like little Snusen, who are slaughtered for their fur at Norwegian fur farms every year. The Humane Society of the United States says that annually, more than 75 million animals — from rabbits, bobcats, mink, foxes, and even domestic dogs and cats — are killed for their fur worldwide.

“We all live on the same planet and all animals need the voice of […] humans,” Helberg tells OneGreenPlanet.org.

Helberg says she and Berge hope the world will realize animals like Snusen deserve to be protected and revered just like Tinni and other dogs like her.

“To steal the freedom of another creature is […] a crime […]” says Helberg. “To see how alike [Snusen] and Tinni are, might make other people […] see the similarity, and would they even think about letting their beloved dog live in a small, claustrophobic cage for all its life? Never.”

To learn more about Tinni and Snusen, or to check out some of Torgeir Berge’s beautiful photographs of the two buddies, visit Berge’s Facebook page today.

Sources: Torgeir Berge Facebook page, TODAY.com, The Local, OneGreenPlanet.org