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Article posted: 2/16/2013 5:00 AM

Dogs used to calm skittish cheetahs

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Nairobi, a 9-year-old female cheetah, keeps an eye on activity in an adjacent enclosure at the cheetah breeding facility at Safari Park in Escondido, Calif. Cheetahs might be the fastest mammals in the world, but they are also the world's biggest scaredy-cats.

Associated Press

Nairobi, a 9-year-old female cheetah, keeps an eye on activity in an adjacent enclosure at the cheetah breeding facility at Safari Park in Escondido, Calif. Cheetahs might be the fastest mammals in the world, but they are also the world's biggest scaredy-cats.

Associated Press

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It may sound like a West Side Story-style love story, but some dogs love big cats. Cheetahs are the fastest mammals in the world, but they also are the world's biggest scaredy-cats -- so much so that they don't breed easily and are in danger of going extinct. 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.
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    • Nairobi, a 9-year-old female cheetah, keeps an eye on activity in an adjacent enclosure at the cheetah breeding facility at Safari Park in Escondido, Calif. Cheetahs might be the fastest mammals in the world, but they are also the world's biggest scaredy-cats.
    • Nairobi, a 9-year-old female cheetah, keeps an eye on activity in an adjacent enclosure at the cheetah breeding facility at Safari Park in Escondido, Calif. Cheetahs might be the fastest mammals in the world, but they are also the world’s biggest scaredy-cats.
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