Not all friendships are what you’d expect. Take for this instance this baby cheetah and puppy that happen to be the best of friends. These two hang out at the Columbus Zoo and they’re practically inseparable at this point. You’ll go crazy over how adorable this friendship is!
20. Sweet Friendship
You may not believe it at first glance, but this sweet baby cheetah and adorable puppy are actually best friends. While it seems like a very unlikely situation, the two of them don’t seem to notice their differences at all.
19. The Babies
Here we have 10-week-old Emmett, a cheetah cub, and 7-week-old Cullen, a Labrador retriever. While in the wild these two would not be friends, in captivity they have managed to break all the rules! So how did this friendship begin?
18. The Beginning
It all started at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio. Emmett was desperately in need of a companion after he was diagnosed with pneumonia. The tiny cub wasn’t doing so well and needed to be hand-reared.
“Emmett was born at the Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio and was hand-reared while being treated for pneumonia for several weeks,” the Zoo wrote on their Facebook page. “He then came to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and picked Cullen to be his companion dog.”
16. New Technique
Apparently, there is a technique that was utilized by the San Diego Zoo in the 1980s. The technique was simple: it found that using puppies helped to keep cheetahs calm during trying times. So the Columbus Zoo decided to try it out.
15. Nervous Wreck
Poor Emmett was a nervous wreck and the pneumonia wasn’t helping. He desperately needed someone around that would calm his nerves. That’s when Cullen came into the picture.
14. Companion Puppy
Cullen was soon introduced to Emmett in hopes that he would help Emmett “be more confident and calm.” The puppy was actually provided to the zoo by The Wilds, a conservation project. So how does it all work?
13. The Method
“If you place the puppy with the cubs, then pretty soon the cubs don’t realise — they think it’s their brother, their sister”, Suzi Rapp, the Animals Program Director at the Columbus Zoo told CBS News.
And that’s not all!
12. Confident Cheetahs
“What I’ve learned is that we want our cheetahs to have all the confidence in the world,” she said. “And we know we can’t give it to them, but we know the dogs can.”
These two best friends still live together and you won’t believe how cute they look now that they’re adults…
11. Emmett’s Future
The zoo sees a ton of potential for Emmett and wants him to eventually become the ambassador for the wild cheetahs. For this to work, Emmett must grow up to be a calm and confident adult dog. All of this is to help cheetah conservation…
Although they are the world’s fastest feline, cheetahs haven’t been able to outrun the fact that they are an endangered species. This is why the partnership between conservationists and farmers to help provide cheetahs with emotional support is so important.
9. Big Exhibit
The Columbus Zoo, for example, gets tons of visitors thanks to their “Heart of Africa” exhibit. At the exhibit is the combination of cheetah and labrador retriever that gets the most attention. It’s something that you just don’t see very often. You won’t believe how much the whole thing costs…
8. Big Question
“The number one question up here, this $40 million exhibit: ‘Are the dogs coming out?’ It’s the number one question,” said Suzi Rapp, who runs the animal program. “And I say the Columbus Zoo built the world’s most expensive Labrador retriever exhibit in the world… the biggest dog run.”
There are many other dog and cheetah friends at the zoo besides Emmett and Cullen and we must say that they’re adorable. Check them out in the following photos!
7. Many Others
One great example is a cheetah named Keyara who needed to get leg surgery. A labrador named Coby was there to comfort her through the whole ordeal.
6. Doing Better
“Without him, I don’t know that we could have pulled this off. She will be fantastic. She will do great. I could not say that if we didn’t have that relationship with the dog,” Rapp said.
Placing the cats and dogs on display for everyone to see is another big part of the conservation act. People are now able to see just how important the dogs are to the cat’s well-being. This fact, however, is only just starting to spread throughout the U.S.
4. Saving Cheetahs
“How they are saving cheetahs is not by being their friend,” Rapp said. “There’s a specific dog in Africa that is actually saving the cheetahs and it’s called the Anatolian Shepherd.”
The Anatolian Shepherd has a long history in Africa and has been used to help preserve the lives of many cheetahs.
3. Big Bark
“You may see in history that this dog can be responsible for saving the cheetah from extinction. That is one heck of a story right there,” Hanna said.
Since the dog is pretty big with a loud bark, many farmers have used them to keep cheetahs off of their lands. This keeps the farmers from having to shoot at the cheetahs.
Overall, the zoo’s all hope to really inform the public about their conservation efforts. They hope their hard work will not go in vain and that the cheetah can be saved from extinction.
1. Sweet Friends
In the meantime, visitors who come to the zoo get to witness the lovely interactions between the cats and dogs. They are some of the cutest friendships you’ll ever see!