This golden dog may not be a lion in real life, but he can still be one at heart.

That is the message behind the photo series Grossstadtlowe by German photographer Julia Marie Werner. She found the homeless pup on her travels and instantly grew attached to the golden mutt digging for scraps in a trash can.

The story of how they met and the connection these two friends share is truly heartwarming.


German photographer Julia Marie Werner was visiting Spain when she came across a sad sight.

She saw a poor, defenseless dog rummaging through her garbage looking for food. He was abandoned, homeless, and hungry. Werner presumed that the pup was tossed from a car and forced to fend for himself.

How could anyone want to abandon that adorable little face?

When a man went to chase the dog away, the golden mutt looked up at Werner with his big puppy dog eyes. For some reason, the dog reminded Werner of Simba from The Lion King. She instantly became attached to the sweet pup.

Werner brought the dog back with her to Germany.

She named the pup Tschikko Leopold von Werner.

Despite his hard and troubled past, the pup took a liking to Werner and began to trust her more and more with each passing day.

"In the beginning he was very insecure,” Werner said.

"Someone who knows a lot about dogs told me the best thing is 'working' with him and teaching him some tricks. He loves jumping on things and using the mane. The pictures are both a game and teamwork between us.”

Soon, the two were embarking on exciting adventures.

Although Tschikko remains guarded at times, his desire to explore outweighs his sense of timidness. Tschikko and Werner have become travel buddies, and the two enjoy exploring together.

Werner was inspired by her rescued companion to create a photo series.

She remembered back to the day when the two first met and Tschikko reminded her of a lion. She placed a lion's mane on the dog to symbolize his strength and courage.

"He already looked like Simba to me,” Werner said.

“And I am a big Lion King fan. A friend of mine had some fabric left over so one afternoon we stitched the mane together.”