Meet the Cheetah and Dog That Are Best Friends

Adaeze and Odie are working together to bring awareness to threatened species.

— -- Since seven weeks after her birth, a 1-year-old cheetah named Adaeze has been best friends with a 6-year-old rambunctious Australian shepherd named Odie at the Leo Zoological Center in Greenwich, Connecticut.

ABC News had the chance to visit and speak with Marcella Leone, who founded the Leo Center back in 2009 and played matchmaker for the inseparable friends who now serve as a tag team giving wildlife conservation presentations.

"Adaeze is our animal ambassador bringing awareness about the plight of the Cheetah. Odie gives her the comfort by being with her to be relaxed for presentations. He helps her process the change better than a wild animal is programmed to do," Leone said.

The friendship blossomed after Mona Lisa, Adaeze's mother, was overwhelmed with caring for all eight of her cubs, so three were cut off from her milk and left for the LEO Zoological Conservation staff to care for -- one of them being Adaeze.

"I wanted Adaeze to bond with a dog because she would need the outlet for play and past studies have shown calm dogs can help tame cheetahs -- especially in stressful public events where a dog is at ease," Leone said.

Marcella tried pairing Adaeze with a picture perfect young puppy her age that was very calm, and said older "naughty" Odie was just suppose to be a fill-in.

"Of course she could care less about the young puppy, but just immediately hit it off with Odie. They roughhouse and play nonstop. They're just best friends who love each other," Leone said.

"Now they are inseparable and sleep together at night. they are only apart from each other during feeding -- and it's only because Odie will gulp down his food like a little pig and then Adaeze lets him gobble up hers and he gets sick," she said. "It's not cause of aggression."

Leone says that right after they finish up their meals, they wait, nose-to-nose against the door, excitedly waiting to be reunited.

In all the presentations Adaeze and Odie have had together, there has not been one incident of aggression, Leone said.

"And people even think at presentations -- when Odie won't sit when we ask but Adaeze will -- Odie is full of energy but is somehow this calming force for Adaeze," she said.

Leone said she hopes seeing Cheetah's like Adaeze and hearing about the animals' struggle will cause people to help take action to protect the animal.

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