A shy cheetah who suffers with anxiety has been given her own emotional support dog to help her feel more confident.
Nandi, who lives at Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey, has been best pals with Bowie the Labrador Retriever since the pair were introduced when they were just a few weeks old.
In a strategy used in other zoos, the big cat was provided with a doggo friend to keep her company at scary events like educational presentations, with Nandi looking to Bowie for reassurance that 'everything is alright and she is safe'.
The inseparable duo have been together for more than a year, and although many of us would be terrified to come face-to-face with a cheetah, their bond is so strong that Bowie even wrestles with his spotty sister.
With Bowie at her side, Nandi purs loudly to show she's happy and content.
The adorable dog has training similar to that of a therapy animal for humans, but uses his skills to keep his cat friend calm instead.
Charlotte Trapman-O’Brien of the Turtle Back Zoo told CBS: "Bowie has a very important job here, which is to be, kind of, her confidence builder.
"Cheetahs are naturally skittish by nature, so one of the things that allows us to bring her out and do educational presentations like this is having Bowie by her side."
With only 7,000 cheetahs left in the wild in Africa, the best friends are used to educate visitors to the zoo and inspire them to work to protect the big cats.
Trained dogs are also used to keep cheetahs away from livestock in the wild, with farmers often blaming the cat for hunting and killing their animals.
Samantha Wegman, who has helped with Bowie's training, added: "We do need him to be calm. That’s his whole job with the cheetah.
"So no matter what else is going on, if something startles her, she needs to look to him, and he needs to be calm.
"He’s been exposed to a lot of different environments. Part of the reason he comes home with us at night is to get him exposed to all different scenarios; car rides, honking cars."
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