Trainers use laid-back companion dogs and docile goats to mellow wild cheetahs and skittish racehorses. My theory is that some people have the untamed spirit of the former, and others have the even-keeled souls of the latter. Partnering with someone who possesses the qualities opposite yours can be mutually beneficial. Which animal are you?
Wild Cheetahs and Laid-Back Companion Dogs
Cheetahs have speed, spiritedness and flashy spotted coats but they are also restless, uptight and nervous. Golden retrievers, on the other hand, are loyal, happy and for the most part, mellow. In their ambassador programs, the San Diego Zoo and its sister property, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park pair cheetahs with domestic dogs. According to their website, “Dogs are naturally comfortable with people, even those they don’t know. Cheetahs are quite a bit more cautious and wary of new situations; having a dog buddy to show them that everything is okay—and even fun—helps the cat feel comfortable and relaxed. The dog’s body language communicates that there’s nothing to fear, which relaxes and calms the cheetah’s flight tendencies. We introduce a puppy buddy when the cheetah is still a cub and naturally playful. By spending time together, they get to know each other and become buddies.”
Skittish Racehorses and Easygoing Goats
Another animal pairing works similarly – racehorses are often calmed by the presence of docile goats. According to this article in the Chicago Tribune, goats often reside in the racehorse stalls to soothe their skittish thoroughbred friends. Goats get a bad rap in our society, but they are friendly and industrious (watch them clear land sometime!). So, you might ask yourself if you are an intense racehorse or an easygoing goat.
You Might Be a Cheetah or Racehorse If…
- You startle easily and often loudly.
- You have a difficult time falling asleep because you are always running to do lists and things you should have said or done differently on that unending movie reel in your brain.
- You are greatly affected by the negative emotions of others around you, from road raging drivers to cranky restaurant servers.
- Your athletic shoes must be tied in equal level of tightness on both feet, or you will untie and tie them over and over until they are just right.
- You are very sensitive to changes in temperature – whether hot or cold.
- You are either full or starving, and you get hangry (hungry + angry) when you miss a meal.
You Might Be a Golden Retriever or Goat If…
- Noises and other distractions do not disturb your focus when you are hard at work on a project.
- You fall asleep easily in your own bed, hotel rooms and even on airplanes.
- When strangers are rude to you, you tend to blow it off because you know that's their problem, not yours.
- You have never considered whether your shoe laces are tied evenly on both feet – is that a thing?
- You sometimes forget to bring a sweater or jacket because weather doesn't affect you much.
- You are okay skipping a meal every now and then if you are involved in an important or fun task.
Which Animal Are You?
I, for one, am a cheetah (or a racehorse). My mind is always on fire—flurried with thoughts and worries. I sometimes exhaust myself and others around me with my constant need to go, go, go and analyze, analyze, analyze.
If you think you may be a cheetah, the best thing you can do is find yourself a canine buddy. This could be a literal fluffy, affectionate dog friend, I suppose. (Although, my formerly abused rescue chihuahua/border collie mix is more cheetah than mellow retriever.)
I am blessed to have the human equivalent of a loyal and calming presence in my life—my spirit animal sister, Karen. She possesses the sweet, carefree demeanor needed to relax my untamable mind. As my husband puts it, I am my best self when my sister is around. I can still run like the dickens like a cheetah or racehorse when I need to, but she helps me realize when to stop running the race.
Being buddies with a cheetah or racehorse has its advantages for retriever or goat souls, too. We push our golden friends out of their comfort zones with our creativity and passionate approach to life. We are overflowing with ideas and energy, which makes us an exciting bunch to be around.
So…which animal are you? Let us know in the comments below!
A note from The Travel Mama: Images purchased from Canva.com.