Zoo mourns loss of beloved Cheetah ambassador dog, Coby

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This week, Ohio’s Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced the passing of a beloved yellow Labrador retriever named Coby, who served as a “Cheetah ambassador” at the facility. In a release, the zoo stated that the Animal Programs and Animal Health staff made the difficult decision to euthanize the dog on December 30 after his health “significantly declined.”

The release detailed Coby’s health issues:

Coby had chronic arthritis of his neck and secondary spinal cord compression. His care was managed with treatment in conjunction with consultations from an Ohio State University veterinary orthopedic surgeon. Unfortunately, Coby’s neck lesions destabilized over the past couple of weeks, resulting in severe neurological signs. After an MRI scan at OSU, the prognosis for corrective surgery was poor, and humane euthanasia was considered to be the action that would be in Coby’s best interest given that there was a low chance that he would ever be able to walk normally (and without pain) again.

Coby was born in 2013 and he arrived to the zoo as a puppy. The release said:

His illustrious career began when he helped raise cheetahs, Bibi and Zemba. Coby was also pivotal in mentoring companion dogs, Cash and Cullen, with whom he spent hours playing and dozing.


Coby was a joy for our Animal Programs staff and everyone he came into contact with over the past 8 years. His playful and calm demeanor made him one of the best baby-raising helpers in Animal Programs, where he helped socialize otters, warthogs, foxes, and many others.Coby was phenomenal at connecting with guests; he loved to greet visitors on grounds, as well as everyone he met through the Columbus Zoo’s community outreach program. Coby made everyone feel special.

Coby helped comfort animals who were recovering from surgery, and newborn babies, and he was a treasured member of the zoo family. The zoo expressed sadness over Coby’s passing, but comfort in the knowledge that he is in a good place now, writing:

Though we are devastated, we are confident he has found a sunny spot across the rainbow bridge, napping happily and keeping an eye on his loved ones.

Rest in peace Coby.

(All images via Facebook/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium)

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