Animals never cease to amaze us. We witness their unique qualities as our companions every day. Dogs continually warm our hearts when they snuggle up next to us, when they romp around in the park or when they engage in goofy antics like rolling over and chasing their tail.
What is especially heartwarming, though, is when dogs interact with other animals. Have you ever witnessed a dog welcoming home a new kitten, or watched the friendship develop between a dog that has been raised with another animal? The ability to overcome differences truly speaks of the compassion animals contain.
While most people can understand how a friendship between a dog and a house cat can develop, there are exceptional cases of interspecies friendships that are quite extraordinary. Interspecies friendships used to seem like a phenomenon, but thanks to the internet, we’re learning that interspecies friendships are common place.
A recent example of an interspecies friendship is between a dog and a lion. A video of the dog cleaning the lion’s teeth went viral and people were amazed that a ferocious predator could be so gentle with this tiny dog. Of course, the backstory to that video is that the lion and dog have been friends for five years.
Bonedigger is a lion that arrived at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park when he was just a cub. Sadly, Bonedigger had a bone disease that made it difficult for him to walk. Joe Schreibvogel (a.ka. Joe Exotic), the zoo’s Entertainment Director, decided to raise Bonedigger in his home in order to provide a safe and healing environment for the lion cub. Joe also had a litter of dachshund puppies he was caring for, and Bonedigger was quickly befriended by these playful dogs.
One of the dachshund pups, Milo, took a particular liking to Bonedigger and the two have been inseparable ever since. Videos of Milo and Bonedigger show them sharing toys, play fighting, cuddling, kissing, and even grooming one another. Apparently, Milo likes to play dentist, and routinely cleans Bonedigger’s teeth. Talk about a close friendship!
One of the foundations of optimal animal wellness and happiness is the pillar of Active Lifestyle. While this conjures up ideas of exercise and physical activity, Active Lifestyle also represents qualities like compassion, understanding, and friendship. When fully embraced, these qualities produce truly remarkable things, like the ability of a lion and a dog to maintain a friendship. Interspecies friendships like the one between Milo and Bonedigger are more than heartwarming- they’re an important life lesson. If a lion and a dog can become friends, then there’s hope that people, too, can exercise compassion and build friendships even when confronted by differences. As companions to our animals, it is important to not only provide an environment of understanding and love, but to recognize that animals provide love for us, too.
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