By Josh Saunders
A photographer has documented the unlikely little-and-large friendship between a Staffordshire terrier-pit bull cross and four tiny guinea pigs.
Far from their preconceived fearful reputation, amorous Amore the dog couldn’t be more harmless, as she lovingly licks her furry friends and even allows them to sleep over her.
The three-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier crossed with a Red Nose Pit Bull has been fascinated with Guinea pigs pals Jut, Jul, Pluck and Skye since she met them a year ago.
She is so obsessed that every day the caring canine patiently sits outside the Guinea pig house wagging her tail, waiting for her friends to come out and play.
Owner Yvonne Vos, 23, and Henri van den Berg, 35, from Zwolle, the Netherlands, says whenever any of the four cute creatures are on her lap, Amore stares at them transfixed and peacefully watches them fall asleep.
Thankfully for the love-hound the feeling is mutual, with the Guinea pigs often standing on their hind legs so they can touch nose to nose.
Yvonne, a driver for a tyre company, said: “Amore has always been interested in the guinea pigs. When they first met the guinea pigs were only a few weeks old and Amore was two-years-old.
“Amore is a very inquisitive and calm dog when it comes to animals smaller than her. That is why the guinea pigs are also interested in her.
“Sometimes I sit on the couch with one of the guineas on my lap and Amore puts her head on my leg to watch and then falls asleep.
“Amore stands by the guinea pig house every day wagging her tail or she ‘helps’ us when we clean the house. Everything guinea pig related is interesting to her.
“When there was a lot of squeaking going on, Amore ran to the house to calm the guineas.
“When we cannot find her she is happily standing next to the guinea pigs house wagging her tail.“It makes me happy to see how Amore and the guineas touch noses, the guineas stand up in their house because they are curious too and like being in contact with Amore.
“It’s a nice feeling to see how such a special friendship between such different species exists.”
The adorable relationship was captured by family and pet
photographerAnnette Hagemeijer, 49, who was amazed by the closeness of the two species.
She said: “Yvonne came to my studio with her dogs and two guinea pigs to have them photographed and I was just amazed at the relationship between Amore and the guinea pigs.
“At first Amore was a bit excited about being in the studio, so she was rolling and jumping, but the guinea pigs were totally unfazed, and she did take care not to step on them.
“After a little while she calmed down and they just all sat and lay down together. It was so sweet. She seemed to be protective of the guinea pigs.”
Annette hopes the images and documentation of the unlikely friendship will show others that dogs perceived to be dangerous are loving, living beings.
She said: “I felt touched because here you have a Staffordshire terrier x rednose pitbull – who reputedly have a bad reputation – with such a sweet and playful nature and treating her guinea pig friends with such care.
“She is just a great example of how these dogs can be really friendly and kind to other living creatures.
“My aim was to show the love and care between the dog and the guinea pigs in the photos and videos, and I think it shines through.
“I am happy about the result and hope people will be just as touched by this unusual friendship as I was.”
Owner Yvonne maintains the delicate yet curious nature of Amore means she is the perfect fit the Guinea pigs.
She added: “Amore is a very gentle and inquisitive teenager. She loves to play and learn.
“I give a lot of attention to the guinea pigs and I believe this combination has made her interested in the guineas and so receptive to liking them.
“The guinea pigs themselves are also very curious and because Amore is so soft and gentle with them, they are not afraid of her.”
To see more of Annette’s work visit: www.annettehagemeijer.nl
Amore 3 years old (Amerikaanse Stafford x rednose pittbull)
Jut 1 year old (3 colour Abyssinian Guinea Pig).
Jul 1 jaar (2 colour English crested Guinea Pig)
Puck 7 month old (Peruvian Guinea Pig)
Skye 4 month old (Skinny Guinea Pig)