LOS ANGELES: It may sound like a West Side Story-style love story, but some dogs love big cats.
Cheetahs are the fastest mammals in the world, but they also are the world's biggest scaredy-cats — so much so that they don't breed easily and are in danger of going extinct.
Some zoos are introducing dogs to calm the skittish cats and bring attention to their plight. They're pairing "companion dogs" with some cheetahs to serve as playmates and to provide the cats with guidance.
"It's a love story of one species helping another species survive," said Jack Grisham, vice president of animal collections at the St. Louis Zoo and species survival plan coordinator for cheetahs in North America.
Or, to quote Stephen Stills, it's a matter of loving the one you're with, he said.
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