Julia Marie Werner, a German photographer, was working in Spain when she came across a haggard-looking homeless dog searching for food scraps amid garbage. While other passersby have dismissed him as just another homeless mutt, Werner saw a courageous animal with soulful eyes. An instant bond was formed between the two, and Werner took her new friend back home to Germany with her.
As a big "Lion King" fan, Werner envisioned this pooch as a magnificent lion. "He already looked like Simba to me," Werner said. Naming the dog Tschikko Leopold von Werner, she turned that concept into reality: "A friend of mine had some fabric left over so one afternoon we stitched the mane together." The project was titled Grossstadtlowe, meaning "Big City Lion."
Although Tschikko's past is unclear, Werner has a hunch that he had been thrown from a car and abandoned back in Spain.
As Tschikko had likely been mistreated by a previous caretaker, the transition to a loving home and nurturing owner wasn't easy at first.
"In the beginning, he was very insecure," Werner observed. "Someone who knows a lot about dogs told me the best thing is 'working' with him and teaching him some tricks."
Thankfully, Tschikko did learn to trust Werner. Despite what he went through, the hopeful canine was still optimistic and energetic at heart.
"He loves jumping on things and using the mane. The pictures are both a game and teamwork between us," Werner said of their time together working on the Grossstadtlowe project. Werner wanted to show the world that Tschikko is a lovable and magnificent animal through her photography.
Tschikko has not only captured Werner's heart - he is also well-loved by the locals. Werner says that everyone who comes across the duo would approach to take photos of the charming pooch.
Oftentimes, children will even ask Werner if Tschikko is a real lion.
This lovable canine is definitely not camera shy! What a fantastic doggie model he has become.
Tschikko has already garnered a few hundred fans on Facebook.
Werner's captivating photo series shows how well Tschikko has adjusted to his new life as a part-time lion and full-time member of the Werner family.
So many adventures await this fantastic duo. Werner has taken Tschikko to all kinds of places both locally and regionally. They have even gone to France and Denmark together!
No matter where they go, Tschikko certainly looks the part of "king of the jungle" - especially when the wind is blowing through his majestic mane.
Even a simple everyday activity, like waiting for the subway, can turn into a beautiful photo opportunity.
It's not hard to see why this charming dog is loved by everyone he meets. Imagine seeing Tschikko from afar - you just might mistake him for a lion as well!
You can keep up to date with this dynamic duo's adventures through their Facebook page here.
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