After the cheetah, born at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park, was rejected by his mother, the keepers helped nurse the youngster. And then they found him a friend.
"Because the cheetah was by himself and did not have any siblings, we wanted him to have a companion immediately,” animal training manager Susie Ekard said in the zoo's blog. "They definitely like to play, and when they take naps together, they often will snuggle up together for that warmth and closeness." (See them in action in the video below.)
Cheetahs and canines have a history of buddying up. In fact, the San Diego Zoo even has Yeti the dog and Shiley the cheetah, as well as Hopper the dog and Amara the cheetah, who have become best buds.
The Cincinnati Zoo and Busch Gardens Tampa have also introduced dogs to their cheetahs.
"Everyone's like, 'A cheetah and a dog, does that make sense?' And it actually does," explained Busch Gardens Tampa zoo manager Tim Smith. "They both have similar behavioral patterns. They find each other socially very similar in the way that they interact with one another."
For more coverage of pets – including our first-ever PEOPLE Pets Awards – pick up next week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands June 20