The best friendship of a golden retriever and a leopard
It’s an uncommon role reversal, but then the cat chasing this dog is a little bigger than most.
Salati, a ten-month-old leopard, and her best friend, the golden retriever Tommy, love nothing more than running around before settling down for a friendly cuddle.
The exotic couple was raised together at Glen Afric Country Lodge near Pretoria in South Africa.
Animal advocate Richard Brooker, 23, raised Salati and took her and the family dog Tommy to daily exercise together.
Every morning, he walks them through his family’s 1,850-acre property and then lets them run free to follow his heart.
He said: ‘Wherever you see, one of the others is right behind. They are inseparable, and both have a lot of energy to get them to get the exercise they both need together.
‘When we first got Salati, she was tiny, and Tommy could chase her around. But now, the tables have turned with Salati matching him in terms of weight.
‘It’s all fun and games, and they love to play together.
‘But dogs aren’t used to being chased by cats almost the same size as them. I think it was a shock for him when she started doing the chase, but it was fun to see them exploring together.’
As a cub, Salati was much smaller than friendly Tommy, weighing 18lb.
But the fast-growing predator now packs a bigger punch at a whopping 40lb, twice the weight of her excitable dog friend.
Mr. Brooker added: ‘The dogs need to walk, and going out with Tommy in the bushes means Salati is growing properly into a fit adult leopard.
‘I take them out in the truck, so they can run around together in lots of space.’
Rescued as an orphan cub, Salati was brought by a local veterinarian to a family-run country retreat that helps rehabilitate in.ju.red and needy animals.
Brookers’ hard work has helped increase wildlife populations in the area. They have over 200 animals with 32 species on the premises.