Therapy Dogs Are Not Just For Humans – Cheetahs Need Them Too!

Dog is man’s best friend for many legitimate reasons. They are eyes for the blind and companions for the suffering. We have turned to dogs for comfort in the face of hard times and now, cheetahs at the Richmond Zoo need them too.

Kumbali is a cheetah cub at the Metro Richmond Zoo, and as a newborn, the cub was losing weight because its mother wasn’t producing enough milk to feed her litter. Once Kumbali was cared for and brought back to health, his family rejected him, but the anxious cat, very social by nature, still needed a friend. That’s where Kago, a companion dog, came in.

Dogs–and Labrador Retrievers in particular–are calming by nature, but also extremely confident. Kumbali takes behavioral cues from Kago, and while Kago is the dominant protector, Kumbali is not intimidated and will not cause his friend any harm.

This symbiotic relationship would never happen in the wild; however, we believe the positive outcomes outweigh any negative. As the two grow up together, they create a bond that becomes almost inseparable, sibling-like.

Kumbali and Kago’s story screams “Real Life Fox And The Hound” and I’m all for it!

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