After two years, Moose and Donni are still together. Moose is a chocolate lab and Donni, a cheetah. The Cincinnati Zoo paired the two up in 2016 so Donni could learn to run and play given that he didn't have any brothers or sisters who could teach him.
Lead Trainer of the Cat Ambassador Program Linda Castaneda describes their first encounter when Moose was a puppy and Donni a cub.
"He (Moose) wagged his tail and shuffled on over to Donni and Donni walloped him not knowing what he was and that's his way of initiating play. To which Moose probably thought, 'That's not how I intended that going,'" she recalls. "But after a couple of interactions that were supervised of course, they realized, hey, you like to play; I like to play and wrestle."
Here is a video of one of the duo's first interactions two years ago.
The friendship has grown because Moose was very open-minded to the thought of this new relationship.
Castaneda often wonders what the two are thinking. "I wonder if the cheetah thinks, 'Poor thing, that cheetah doesn't have any spots; it's never going to blend in.' And I wonder if the dog wonders why that other dog is so weird."
The two play together a couple times a day. Here is a video of them playing last Friday at the zoo.
This is the fifth dog-cheetah pairing at the Cincinnati Zoo. Castaneda says no dogs or cheetahs have gotten injured. Still, one wonders: How long can this relationship last?
"I always say it's like siblings," Castaneda says. "Sharing a room might have been a blast. At some point though, you really wanted your own room."