Shutterstock/ Henner Damke

Dogs Help Cheetahs Relax At Zoos And The Pics Are Adorable

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On Monday, a Twitter user shared an adorable new thing he learned about the relationship between cheetahs and puppies.

Because of their nervous nature, cheetahs are often given emotional support dogs in zoos. Twitter user @IAmCultHero, known as Andy Stardust on the platform, enlightened his followers by posting pictures of the pair frolicking in the grass.

You know, for relaxing cuddles and fun playtime.

His post, which has since gone viral, features four snapshots of the cheetah and pup dynamic IRL.

It's unclear where the photos of a cheetah and his yellow Labrador retriever friends originated, but one thing's for sure: they are downright adorable.

I cannot handle the cuteness. Just look at that precious smooch!

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After some commenters questioned whether support dogs were really used in zoos, Andy followed up with a link to a ThoughtCo. piece that outlines the zoological strategy to chill the vulnerable cheetahs out.

Obviously, zoos want all their animals happy, but nervous cats like cheetahs need to be calm in order to mate.

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In fact, since the '80s, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has given its cheetahs puppy companions as a part of its captive breeding program.

Animal Training Supervisor Janet Rose-Hinostroza described the process in an interview with ThoughtCo.,

When you pair them, 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.
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Because humans often use emotional support animals (even mini horses!) for similar stress-relieving results, I can totally see how this would work for big cats.

More people chimed in on Andy's post, saying that they've seen dogs used as cheetah aids, too.

Twitter user @Champ_Dawg9 made my heart melt even more when he replied with photos of a tiger and his doggie support.

It's just so sweet... everyone deserves a BFF.

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But also, did you know that cheetahs meow?

My mind is officially blown.