With their zoo closed for winter storm Jonas, zookeepers let the crossspecies buddies loose in a large enclosed area. And they responded with a fit of sheer happiness—there was running, tumbling, and bouncing through seven inches of snow. They were even kind enough to let a human being in on the giddy party.
The friendship formed because young cheetahs, like Kumbali, tend to be nervous, more into flight than fight. Knowing that other zoos, like the San Diego Zoo, had successfully paired cheetahs and dogs, the keepers found Kumbali a puppy. When Art of Paws and AWOL MUTTS showed the zoo staff a picture and video of the then-10-week-old lab Kago, they knew right away they’d found their man.
Fittingly, and adorably, Kumbali and Kago hit it off immediately. They’ve been inseparable ever since.