Cheetahs are so shy that zoos give them their own emotional ‘support dogs’.

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Cheetahs are so shy that zoos give them their own emotional ‘support dogs’.

Despite their grace and speed, cheetahs are actually very anxious and stressed out animals. Sometimes they get so nervous that they don’t know how to socialize and are often too stressed to mate. As endangered animals, they get need all the help they can get.

But a solution has arrived, in a form no one expected. Zookeepers have hit upon the idea of emotional ‘support dogs’.

“A dominant dog is very helpful because cheetahs 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 them [cheetahs with dogs], the cheetah 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 dog.”

Of course, humans have longed known dogs are great support animals, helping the visually impaired and comforting and providing companionship for the elderly and ill.

But watch the video below to see a unique use for support dogs — and see just how two different species can help one another in a beautiful way…






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