Miniature horse rings bell

WEST BEND, Wis. – Tinker may be miniature – as in a miniature horse – but he’s a big money raiser for the Salvation Army.

He uses his mouth to hold and ring a red bell and also picks up with his mouth a “Thank You Merry Christmas” sign. He can also bow and give kisses.

Major Roger Ross, a Salvation Army commander, said Tinker is one of their biggest money raisers in the area: He brings in 10 times the amount of a regular bell ringer.

“A good kettle for a couple of hours brings in about $250, and for the same time period (Tinker and his owners) have been known to bring in $2,500,” he said. “They line up to put money in the kettle.”

The 13-year-old horse, who’s brown, black, grey and white, has been ringing for four seasons.

“I actually save up all my donation and give it to Tinker because I have such a soft place in my heart for him,” said Karen Hammen, who gave money while Tinker stood outside a West Bend craft show on a recent Saturday morning.

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