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This Unlikely Friendship Captivated The World: Bonedigger the Lion and Milo The Dachshund

lion and dachshund dog

At G.W. Exotic Animal Park, the bond between Bonedigger the lion and Milo the dachshund challenges our understanding of interspecies relationships. This sweet bond extends beyond species and size and showcases the profound connections possible in the animal world.

Image credit: Datacube

An Unlikely Pair

When Bonedigger was just a cub, his path crossed with Milo, an eight-year-old Dachshund. Despite the vast differences a strong, unbreakable bond quickly formed between the 500-pound lion and the small dog.

Overcoming Challenges Together

Bonedigger’s journey hasn’t been easy. Born with a metabolic bone disease, he faced challenges that left him mildly disabled. It was Milo, along with two other Dachshunds, Bullet and Angel, who sensed Bonedigger’s vulnerability and stepped in to offer comfort and protection. This act of compassion laid the foundation for a long friendship, highlighting the innate ability of animals to empathize and care for one another​​​​.

Watch Lion and Dachshund Unlikely Friendship

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The Zookeeper’s Influence

The nurturing of this unique friendship owes much to John Reinke, the zookeeper at the park. After losing both of his legs in a bungee jump accident, Reinke developed a profound understanding of living with a disability. His experience made him uniquely attuned to the needs and bond between Bonedigger and Milo. By hand-rearing Bonedigger and introducing him to Milo, Reinke fostered an environment where this unusual friendship could flourish​​.

A Symbol of Unconditional Love

The story of Bonedigger and Milo goes beyond being a mere curiosity. It’s a reminder of unconditional love and understanding. In a world where differences often create barriers, this lion and Dachshund duo demonstrate the limitless potential of friendship. 

The Global Impact

lion and dachshund dog
Image credit: Datacube

G.W. Exotic Animal Park

At the G.W. Exotic Animal Park, prominently featured in the “Tiger King” docuseries, the narrative took a dramatic turn following the conviction of its original owner, Joe Exotic, for animal abuse and other charges. In a surprising legal development, the zoo’s ownership was transferred to Joe Exotic’s rival, Carole Baskin, due to a trademark infringement lawsuit. This change marked a significant shift in the park’s future, raising concerns about the welfare and fate of the animals housed there, as well as highlighting the complexities surrounding private exotic animal ownership and wildlife conservation.


The friendship between Bonedigger the lion and Milo the Dachshund at the G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma is a beautiful example of the unexpected and heartwarming bonds that can form in the animal kingdom.

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