The video of the dentist-patient relationship between a seven-year-old dachshund called Milo and a five-year-old 500-pound Barbary lion called Bonedigger appears to confound the common notion that cats and dogs don't get along.
The clip showing the daschund helping the lion clean its teeth at the G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, has left many wondering how the lion could resist the temptation of a tasty daschund morsel.
According to the Daily Mail, Milo the Dachshund helped raise Bonedigger the Lion who was born with a slightly disabling metabolic bone disease.
Bonedigger, Milo and two other dachshunds at the park, Bullet and Angel, play together at the zoo and even share raw meat dinners.
Acccording to the park manager John Reinke, he watched the bond between Bonedigger and Milo develop over the years. The bond is such that Milo has adopted a dog-version of Bonedigger's deafening signature lion roar which males lions use to alert other dominant males in their vicinity.
Reinke said: "Milo does his best to copy Bonedigger when the lion tries puffing to communicate with other lions in the park."
The Huffington Post reports that a zoo spokesman, Daniel Cotton, said the zoo houses more than 1,000 animals, including Siberian tigers, grizzly bears, white lions and an alligator owned by Michael Jackson. The spokesman said the zoo has been involved in rescuing abandoned and abused animals. He claimed that it has rescued more than 1,400 animals and found homes for more 1,200 in zoos and animal sanctuaries worldwide.
Cotton said that the zoo suffered damaged of about $18,000 in the May 20 tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma. He said no animal was lost.
Zoo with a "troubled history"
After the video went viral online, The Huffington Post reported that the zoo has what it termed "a troubled history," suggesting that the image of an adorable display of affection between a miniature dachshund and a lion might not be exactly as it seems.
According to The Hufffington Post, the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Parks in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, has been investigated several times by US agencies and animal rights groups.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigated the zoo after it lost 23 tiger cubs. Joe Schreibvogel, who owns the zoo, attributed the deaths that occurred in 2009 and 2010 to "bad KMR" (kitten mil replacement) made by PetAg, a pet food manufacturer.
The zoo also came under the scrutiny of the Humane Society in 2011, which reported, following an undercover investigation, that five tigers died during the five months their undercover investigator worked there.
The Humane Society produced a footage showing sickly tigers and tigers allegedly being abused by staff with the knowledge of the management.
According to The Huffington Post, USDA's Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service fined the zoo $25,000, withdrew its license and placed it under an 18-month probation in 2006 for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
Soon after the zoo regained its license, PETA released a report after another undercover investigation that claimed that the animals at the zoo were being starved and abused
Schreibvogel dismissed PETA's report, saying it was "doctored."