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The Reason Cheetahs Need Emotional ‘Support Dogs’

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 14 Aug 2021 15:31
The Reason Cheetahs Need Emotional 'Support Dogs'@columbuszoo/Facebook

They may be the fastest land mammal in the world, but it seems cheetahs are more relatable than we think, as some need emotional support just like the rest of us.

Though cheetahs have been known to be rather anxious souls, many are only just learning this fact thanks, of course, to a new TikTok video, which has revealed that not only can the big cats get a bit nervous, but zookeepers and wildlife centres have come up with an adorable solution to help them.

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It turns out zoos will often assign cheetahs their own emotional support dog, with the canine helping the feline develop social skills, teach them to be more outgoing, and help them adapt to their environment.

Check it out:

@mndiaye_97Idk what’s better, cheetah’s having therapy dogs or ravens playing with wolf pups ##cheetah##animals##wholesome♬ Relaxed everyday loop BGM – Milk

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Posting a clip of a dog inside the cheetah enclosure at a zoo, TikToker @mndiaye_97 explained how ‘generational trauma of being a cheetah’ has resulted in inherent anxiety and stress in many of the big cats. ‘It’s so bad that some cheetahs are too shy to mate’, he adds.

As a result, places like the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have adopted a practice that’s as heartwarming as it is beneficial to the species.

‘A dominant dog is very helpful because the African animals are quite shy instinctively, and you can’t breed that out of them,’ Janet Rose-Hinostroza, animal training supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, told Bored Panda. ‘When you pair cheetah cub with a guide dog, the cat looks to the dog for cues and learns to model their behavior. It’s about getting them to read that calm, happy-go-lucky vibe from the cheetah support dog,’ she added.

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‘It’s a love story of one species helping another species survive,’ Jack Grisham, vice president of animal collections at the St. Louis Zoo and species survival plan coordinator for cheetahs in North America, said.

Dogs and cheetahs are paired together as puppies and cubs, quickly bonding and growing up together. Since the first pair were put together in 1980, zookeepers say the dogs have had a very positive effect on the cheetahs, Times of San Diego reports.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Animals, Dogs, Now, San Diego, TikTok, zoo

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Bored Panda
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    Cheetahs Are So Shy That Zoos Give Them Their Own Emotional “Support Dogs”