RICHFIELD, Wis., Dec. 1 (UPI) — A Wisconsin couple have figured out a way to get shoppers to put more money in their Salvation Army kettle: They let their miniature horse ring the bell.
For the second year in a row, Tinker and his owners, Carol and Joe Takacs, are raising money for the Salvation Army by ringing bells outside of stores during the Christmas holiday shopping season, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday.
“You’ve almost got to reach in your wallet and give some money when you see that little horse. You have to. You have to or you’re a Grinch!” said Mary Jansma of Randolph, who stopped to meet Tinker and the Takacses outside Cabela’s in Richfield, a town of about 10,000 people in southeastern Wisconsin.
“It is unbelievable. This horse has a gift. It draws a crowd,” said Stephanie Crangle, the store’s retail events coordinator.
The horse, which is brown and white and stands just 27 inches tall, holds the bell in his mouth and shakes his head. Carol Takacs said it took months of training to teach Tinker the trick.
“He’s very serious about his bell-ringing. He’s a little bit of a ham,” the Washington County Human Services Department employee said.
On a busy Saturday, the trio can bring in between $400 and $600, the newspaper said.
The rest of the year, Tinker performs tricks at events, including playing basketball, pushing a baby buggy, playing piano, fetching, kissing, bowing and saluting.
“Carol’s got a gift with animals. She’s got me trained, for God’s sake,” said Joe Takacs.