Jeanette Wurms, 36, a lion keeper at the Stukenbrock safari park near Paderborn, said baby lion Jojo was developing an infection where her umbilical cord was severed after her birth about three weeks ago, requiring frequent vet visits, The Local.de reported Wednesday.
Wurms said the frequent vet attention led Jojo's mother, Nala, to reject her, so she brought the cub home with her.
The zookeeper said her dog, Lejon, whose name is Swedish for "lion," took an instant liking to the cub.
"Lejon looked after her with me from the first day, licking her clean, and lying next to her when I was giving Jojo her bottle. Since then we have become a very special family," Wurms said.
Wurms said Jojo is now spending large amounts of time each day playing in the garden with her adopted father dog.