Joined: 14 Dec 2013
|Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:07 pm Post subject: A friendship that’s a real Wiener
|The Disabled 500-pound Lion and his unlikely Dachshund Pal who have been Inseparable Ever Since the Big Cat Was a Cub
I found this this morning and I thought to share.
A disabled lion who was reared by a double amputee zookeeper has formed an unlikely bond with a miniature sausage dog with the pair inseparable ever since the cat was a cub.
Bonedigger, a 500lb male lion might dwarf Milo, an eight-year-old Dachshund but he rarely leaves his side.
The two have been inseparable over the past five years at G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.
Bonedigger was born with a metabolic bone disease that left him mildly crippled and has also struck up an unusual bond with zookeeper John Reinke, who lost both of his legs following a bungee jump accident.
When Milo and two other five-year old wiener dogs, Bullet and Angel, sensed that the the lion was disabled they sought to comfort and protect him.
Now Bonedigger and his pack of dogs cuddle, feast on raw meat and play in the grounds together.
Mr Reinke, who works at the zoo witnessed the bond develop between the unlikely duo.
He said: ‘This friendship between an 11 pound wiener dog and a 500 pound lion is the only of it's kind in the world ever seen.
‘Milo does his best to copy Bonedigger when the lion tries puffing to communicate with other lions in the park.
Bonedigger was hand-reared by Mr Reinke along with a tiger called Tony after he realised his ability to bring up animals.
He added: 'They used to live with me in the house. I raised them both with bottled formula and raw meat until they grew too big for the house.
'Bondigger’s like a dog and when he hasn't seen me for ages he gets all excited and runs up to me.
'Tony is perfectly healthy, but is a bit too playful. When Bonedigger senses that I am losing control of the play, he snarls at Tony and you can tell he is being protective and telling him to stop.’
Now the big cats have moved into their own enclosure and he has also hand-reared another two tiger cubs called Tippy and Orlando.
Mr Reinke explained: 'I brought up tiger cubs named Tippy and Orlando. They keep me busy and they need to be entertained every day.
‘Tippy liked to play tug of war with my prosthetic legs, which is good, because I guess that would hurt otherwise!’
Mr Reinke admits he has always been on the wild side after an accident during a bungee jump in 1994.
He fell through a faulty trap door from 55 feet, crushing both of his legs.
‘I pierced my side with a six inch metal stake too and I asked my friends to call my wife because I thought that was it,’ said the ex-turbine engineer.
‘I broke my hip, my back, and shattered both feet and raked my intestines. Needless to say, I was in a coma for eight days after I reached the hospital. My wife Kristi couldn’t recognise me when she first saw me.
‘When I finally woke up the doctors told me that I would never walk again.’
After five years of painstaking rehabilitation, John learned to use his legs again, and he began to rebuild his life. He and his wife Kristi, 45, had a second son Peyton six years after their first son, Nathan was born.
But in the years that followed, John suffered from repeated infections in his legs and eventually had both amputated.
‘That was another low moment for me because I value my independence highly,’ added Mr Reinke.
‘Bringing up Bonedigger and Tony helped me recover, especially my relationship with Bonedigger.’
Video and lots of pictures at site.
Art Should Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.