Almost 40 years have passed since the reunion between Christian the Lion and his former owners, John Rendall and Ace Bourke. Though decades have passed, they say they aren't surprised the video still has such wide appeal. "It is a love story," Ace says. "We're all so obsessed with our pets anyway, but it's got the nurturing, the loss, the separation or the testing of a relationship and the reunion."
People watching the video are often scared that the reunion might end in something other than a hug—like a mauling. John says he didn't worry for a moment that Christian might attack. "We knew him so well," he says. "We'd been a year in England with him, and so we knew his moods, we knew his body language. His body language said, 'Yes, I recognize you.'"