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Orphan cheetah cub and yellow lab become best friends

Wild Wonders Animal Education Center says the six-month-old cub and pup are 'not' fighting like cats and dogs.

BONSALL, Calif. — Sometimes opposites attract. In this Zevely Zone, I visited Wild Wonders in Bonsall for a match made in heaven. 

In life, no matter who you are or what you are, we all need a friend. That includes a cheetah cub named Tavi who was born on the East Coast without a single sibling. "He was he was a singleton cub and in cheetah land that is not a good thing," said Wild Wonders Director Jackie Navarro. 

Worried the cub's mother might do the unthinkable and kill a litter of one, the little orphan cub found a new home at Wild Wonders. Right away the staff noticed something missing in him. "Yeah, we knew right away," said Jackie. Cheetah experts across the country all agreed on how to proceed. "They told us get a dog, get a dog for him," said Jackie.

Credit: Wild Wonders

If this were a Disney movie they'd cast an adorable yellow lab puppy, and as luck would have it, in walked Yarra. "Go get your ball," said Jackie to the yellow lab. "She's busy and has to have something in her mouth at all times," laughed Jackie. Yarra loves water, balls, toy ducks and grass, but most of all. "She loves people," said Jackie.

Credit: CBS 8

It's one thing to turn a dog loose with a human. "We used to call that a wet willie," I laughed when Yarra about licked me to death. But it's something entirely different to expect a cheetah and puppy to become playmates. "They had to learn to speak each other's language." said Jackie. "There's two completely different species here." Tavi is a scaredy cat. Yarra is brave and bold. Cats and dogs aren't supposed to get along, right? "No, they are not supposed to get along especially a water dog," said Jackie. Cats usually detest water but following Yarra's lead there was Tavi sinking her claws into a puppy pool party. "Yeah, there's no Grand Canyon divide here, they've actually been able to come together," said Jackie. The two animals are both six-months-old. 

Credit: Wild Wonders

If their friendship was surprising enough, maybe the ending to this story will be. Yarra was born with a single Cheetah spot. "Yarra was born with a beauty mark she has a little black spot on her head," said Jackie. "She has a cheetah spot on her head, so she is perfect."

RELATED: Wild Wonders: It's a wild world and sometimes nature needs help

A friend in need is a friend indeed. "It is, this will be for their entire life so when he gets to be 100 pound and she is close to it they will still be best of friends," said Jackie. "It was meant to be, it was absolutely meant to be."

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Wild Wonders is a private facility with animals from all over the world living on 5 acres.  The licensed and insured wildlife education organization has 100 animal ambassadors. None of the animals were taken from the wild. If you'd like to meet Tavi and Yarra, Wild Wonders is offering a cheetah "Meet and Greet" and a new program called "All About Cats". For more information click here.

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