If you've been scrolling around on Facebook this week, you've probably seen or even liked these viral images of two rescued puppies hugging. Sadly, the truth behind the photos may be more upsetting than meets the eye.
The puppies were rescued by nuns at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in late 2016, but the images have only recently been picked up by various news sites and gone viral on social media. While they are undeniably adorable at first glance, a closer look from animal experts reveals a startling truth.
The nuns who rescued the puppies were surprised to see that they often sat upright, much like humans. Many dogs will do this from time to time, but these pups rarely laid down or stretched out. Something was definitely wrong.
What's more, the older puppy was constantly holding onto a younger one. Many commenters online have suggested that the larger pup was trying his best to provide comfort after the horrors they experienced as strays.
While it's a sweet sentiment, it's most likely not the case. Animal experts believe that the unusual position is not a sign of friendship, but of extreme cruelty and abuse. In all actuality, these dogs were probably trained to behave this way by humans who planned to exploit them in a circus or street performance.
Reportedly, the abuse was too much for the smaller dog to handle. It's not much of a leap to imagine that holding this type of unnatural position would cause pain and damage to his little body.
According to a local source, the pup passed away and was buried in a cardboard box by the nuns. In this day and age, it's not a surprise that what we see in the "news" is not what it appears, but it's especially heartbreaking when it involves the exploitation of our furry friends.
If you see these images circulating on your newsfeed, don't hesitate to let others know the truth behind them. And be sure to help your friends and family stay informed by sharing this story.