Stripey is a 9-month-old tiger cub who relocated to Pahrump from the East Coast 3 months ago. A change of venue can be lonely for a tiger in captivity.
That's why Zuzana Kukol and Scott Shoemaker, the founders of Responsible Exotic Animal Ownership or REXANO, decided to pair Stripey with a companion named Prima, a female mixed breed dog.
"A dog basically teaches them manners not to play as rough as they would with another tiger," Shoemaker said.
In the case of 7-month-old Prima and her best friend Stripey, their personalities and temperament make for the perfect match.
"One thing we look for is the dog can back off the tiger," Shoemaker said.
Conventional wisdom might suggest the tiger would dominate the dog, but it's not the case, according to Shoemaker.
Prima takes on the role of disciplinarian.
"It's a lot easier once they are with a dog because they tone them down and it's as lot easier for us to work with them," Shoemaker said.
Although it seems like play to the dog and tiger, it's a lesson on life, socialization and a friendship that may last a long time.
"In the long run, [Stripey] is going to be four times bigger than the dog, but the dog will still be the boss," Shoemaker said.