Milo the dachshund and Bonedigger the lion – Best Friends Forever.
Everyone knows that dog is man’s best friend, but this August 26th celebrate National Dog Day at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma and you will find that dogs are the perfect companion for other species as well.
The qualities of loyalty and protectiveness that we most value in our beloved pets are the very same qualities that have led to the lifelong friendship between Milo the dachshund and Bonedigger the lion. The two are attracting worldwide attention for demonstrating that even the biggest differences can be overcome in the name of true friendship.
The unlikely duo have lived together since Bonedigger was born at the animal park with a metabolic bone disease that crippled his legs and Milo was brought to the park as a Christmas present at 8 weeks old. Park Entertainer Joe Schreibvogel, also known as Joe Exotic, says Bonedigger and Milo “grew up together and never separated since [they met].” Because Bonedigger was crippled he was kept away from the other park animals and raised inside the park manager’s house. When Bonedigger grew to his current 600 pounds he moved to the yard and his 11 pound wiener dog moved too.
When Milo and another dachshund Maggie had puppies, the pair became a pack. Milo, Maggie, and two of the puppies all live with Bonedigger. Exotic says that if the dogs are removed from the yard not only does Bonedigger get “pretty upset” but when they return each dog individually runs up to the lion and looks him straight in the face “as though [Bonedigger] counts them.”
After receiving medical treatment, Bonedigger’s legs are no longer crippled but his puppy pride still cleans his teeth and face after meals. There has never been an aggressive moment between the lion and dogs and Exotic has no fear about leaving the lion and dogs together, “Bonedigger takes care of these dogs like they are his kids.”
At the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park Milo and Bonedigger are not so unique. Other odd pairs seen there include a tiger and dog, as well as a tiger and bear. Exotic also sees unusual interactions between natural predator and prey when lamas, goats, and donkeys lie beside the tiger cages.
Exotic explains that such relations rarely occur even in other animal parks, but these friendships highlight a key difference between a traditional zoo and the sanctuary. The animals at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park are rescued from “horrible places.” Now, Exotic says, these animals are “happy, not hungry, don’t feel threatened…[and] know this is a safe house for them.”
Exotic believes dogs are more than just companions; animals like Milo and Bonedigger have the power to make the world a better place. “This lion and this dog are teaching us …if a 600 pound lion and an 11 pound wiener dog can get along why can’t we?”
Milo and Bonedigger will be spending National Dog Day much as they do other days; eating raw meat, chasing each other, and sleeping side by side.
Visit Zoo Relief @ www.zoorelief.com to learn how you can help Milo and Bonedigger.