Therapy Dogs Calm Sex-Shy Cheetahs

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The expression “fight like cats and dogs” may be true for many felines and canines, not to mention any number of humans. But that notion goes right out the window when it comes to cheetahs and dogs. For these two, it’s just one big love fest.

ABC News recently reported that although most of us know that cheetahs are the fastest mammals in the world, we may not be aware that they’re also the world’s biggest scaredy-cats. As a result, the animals, which have become extinct in 13 countries, don’t breed easily.

The report went on to say that, “Some zoos are introducing dogs to calm the skittish cats and bring attention to their plight. They’re pairing ‘companion dogs’ with some cheetahs to serve as playmates and to provide the cats with guidance.”

“I’m not sure when the idea of cheetah and dog pairings began, but I believe it may have started with the movie industry,” , the animal training supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, tells TakePart. The San Diego Zoo has been pairing cheetahs and dogs for almost 40 years and the for nearly 14 years.

Interestingly, the dogs are the bosses of the relationship. “A few decades ago, farmers in Namibia were having problems with cheetahs attacking their livestock and because of this they would shoot the cheetahs,” says . “To address this issue, Dr. Laurie Marker, founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, introduced the idea of having dogs protect the farmers’ livestock. She gave dogs to the farmers and when cheetahs approached the livestock, the dog would scare the big cats away. The dogs are that effective in keeping the cheetahs away from the herds.”

Rose-Hinostroza explains that the cheetahs at the Safari Park are introduced to ‘their’ domestic dog when they’re young and the two become partners. “ different species, the two animals have different modes of communication,” she says. “We aren’t looking for a dominant dog—we want dogs who want to befriend the cat and be a buddy. But by nature, dogs are pack-oriented and dominance is instinctive. Cats don’t think that way, they are solitary and it’s all about me, myself and I.”

“When we pair the animals, we are looking for a friendly, confident dog who genuinely wants to befriend the cat,” she adds. “Dogs want to please, while the cats could care less. The dog’s body language is constantly conveying ‘it is okay’ to the cheetah, which relaxes the cat. The dog always has the cheetah’s back but it is never the other way around. It’s all about the dog comforting and reassuring the cat. The cheetah first learns to trust the dog, then to trust their trainers and people.”

All this trust and relaxation helps the cheetahs better respond to each other, so they can mate and rebuild their endangered species. Rose-Hinostroza says that the Park is world-renown for their cheetah breeding program. “We have had 135 cheetahs born at the over a 40-year span.”

Related Stories on TakePart:

• Jenny Webb Says Baby Elephant Moses Likes to Snuggle with his Human Mom

• Homeless in Ohio? Exotic Animal Farm Faces Foreclosure

• Wild Animals Under the Circus Big Top: Amusement or Abusement?


Lawrence Karol is a writer and editor who lives with his dog, Mike. He is a former Gourmet staffer and enjoys writing about design, food, travel and lots of other stuff. @WriteEditDream | Email Lawrence | TakePart.com

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The Dog

The Dog

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Comments

    • Anonymous
    • February 21, 2013
    2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Good information, October 11, 2012
    By 
    Cameron (Golconda) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Dog (Kindle Edition)

    It is a great deal
    Free is great
    love the book
    Buy buy buy
    Read and enjoy!
    Free is good
    Don’t buy it for $16 buy it free

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

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    • Cameron
    • February 21, 2013
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Interesting facts, December 6, 2012
    By 

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Dog (Kindle Edition)

    But a bit oldfashined but interesting read
    Don’t think I would pay the full amount for it
    For free buy it any time

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

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    • Turkeysanwhich
    • February 21, 2013

    I’d be a Neanderthal.

    • BrickBuster2552
    • February 21, 2013

    Lion

    • tabletCola
    • February 21, 2013

    red fox ftw

    • Arkenarge
    • February 21, 2013

    what kind of dog is rosey? I’m not that good with breeds

    • Cupcom5
    • February 21, 2013

    i’d be a cheatah. or an american shorthair. nine lives, always land on feet and really fast.

    • h0b0n1nj4
    • February 21, 2013

    A harpo

    • MsMonkeyFei
    • February 21, 2013

    LOL your dogs reactions is hilarius dude

    • MsMonkeyFei
    • February 21, 2013

    The dogs reaction is precious

    • Amelia Longbottom
    • February 21, 2013

    Is your dog a labradoodle? She looks like my labradoodle 🙂

    • Joshua Cook
    • February 21, 2013

    A black mamba so no one would fuck with me

    • xXMONSTERSNIPEXx
    • February 21, 2013

    lmao the fucking dog is funny as fuck

    • John isready
    • February 21, 2013

    cat cuz they mufuckin ninjas

    • mickel sawyer
    • February 21, 2013

    and the moral of this story is … don’t have kids XD

    • MrSquidtits
    • February 20, 2013

    I’d be a cucumber , i get shoved in your girlz vagaigai ;D

    • Tiffany Mathers
    • February 20, 2013

    LOL THE DOGS FACE.

    • Stephanie Changes
    • February 20, 2013

    That poor dog. You’ve done some weird stuff with Rosie. What ever happened to your cat? Or your bearded dragon?

    • Meixafuhellzman2
    • February 20, 2013

    RFOFLFLFLORegtl
    }P:L (Me laughing to death from Rosey the dog, hence the failure of typing ROFL)

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