Beloved “Cheetah Ambassador” Dog Dies, But His Legacy Lives On


A Labrador Retriever named Coby was famous at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio. He became a special staff member as a puppy in 2013. He quickly became an excellent cheetah raiser, taking care of two young cheetahs named Bibi and Zemba. It’s common for zoos to pair dogs with cheetah cubs because they help socialize the large felines.

The zoo is heartbroken after the death of Coby, but his legacy won’t be forgotten. Coby helped raise various animals at the zoo, and he even trained other dogs to help. The pup accomplished a lot in his unique role.

Dog relaxing with cheetahs

Life of a Cheetah Ambassador

Coby was most known for playing with the young cheetahs and looking after them. Yet, he also helped comfort many other baby animals, including warthogs, foxes, and otters. The pup was especially comforting to baby animals that recently went through surgery. Of course, he was always eager to greet human guests too.

“Coby was a joy for our Animal Programs staff and everyone he came into contact with over the past 8 years,” the Columbus Zoo wrote. “His playful and calm demeanor made him one of the best baby-raising helpers in Animal Programs.”

Cheetah cub kissing dog

During his career, Coby helped raise two other zoo companion dogs, Cash and Cullen. When he wasn’t working hard to help the zoo animals, he was right beside his canine friends.

But sadly, even the most influential dogs have to cross the rainbow bridge at some point. On December 30th, 2021, the staff made the tough decision to say goodbye to Coby.

Warthog kissing Labrador Retriever

Rest in Peace, Coby

Toward the end of 2021, Coby’s health significantly declined. He was only eight years old, but he had chronic arthritis in his neck, along with spinal cord compressions. These concerns led to neurological signs. Even with corrective surgery, it was unlikely that Coby would be able to walk pain-free ever again. So, his loved ones knew they had to make a tough decision.

Coby was humanely euthanized just before the new year. It was a devastating moment for everyone that knew him. Yet, he had so many accomplishments during his time at the zoo, so he’ll never be forgotten.

Cheetah cub chasing dog

“Coby was a pillar of our Animal Programs department and a treasured member of our Zoo family. Though we are devastated, we are confident he has found a sunny spot across the rainbow bridge, napping happily and keeping an eye on his loved ones,” the Columbus Zoo wrote.

Coby’s story reminds others to be kind to animals. Even in his final months, he still loved to make the baby animals feel happy and confident. Rest in peace, Coby. Your paw prints left a loving impact on the world.

Rest in Peace Coby

Featured Image: Facebook

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