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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Officials at an Ohio zoo are mourning the death of its cheetah ambassador dog.

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Coby was euthanized on Dec. 30 by officials at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, WBNS-TV reported. He was 7 and had been in declining health, zoo officials said in a news release.

Coby was born June 22, 2013, and came to the zoo as a puppy, the release stated. His health declined due to chronic arthritis of his neck and secondary spinal cord compression, according to WBNS. The dog received an MRI but the veterinarian found the prognosis for corrective surgery was poor, which led to the decision to humanely euthanize him, WLWT-TV reported.

Once at the zoo, Coby began helping raise cheetahs Bibi and Zemba, the television station reported. He also served as a mentor for companion dogs Cash and Cullen, zoo officials said.

Zoo officials called Coby a “pillar” and “treasured member” of the zoo’s community.

“Coby was a joy for our Animal Programs staff and everyone he came into contact with over the past eight years,” zoo officials said in the news release. “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 (the) grounds, as well as everyone he met through the Columbus Zoo’s community outreach program. Coby made everyone feel special.”