Lifestyle Pets Coby, the 'Beloved' Dog Best Friend of the Columbus Zoo's Cheetahs, Dies After Decline in Health The beloved 8-year-old yellow Labrador retriever suffered from chronic arthritis in his neck and secondary spinal cord compression before his death, per zoo officials By Abigail Adams Abigail Adams Instagram Twitter Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on January 7, 2022 03:32 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos Photo: Columbus Zoo Coby, a cheetah ambassador dog at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, has died. The Ohio zoo announced that the 8-year-old yellow Labrador retriever was "humanely" euthanized on Dec. 30 "after his health significantly declined." The pup had suffered from chronic arthritis in his neck and secondary spinal cord compression. "It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of beloved cheetah ambassador dog, Coby," the zoo said in Thursday's statement. The facility later added, "Unfortunately, Coby's neck lesions destabilized over the past couple of weeks, resulting in severe neurological signs." Coby first arrived at the Columbus Zoo as a puppy in 2013. He was eventually dubbed the zoo's cheetah ambassador dog after helping keepers raise two cheetahs named Bibi and Zemba. Sunny Hostin Rescues a Dog with Some Help from Sarah Paulson: 'Welcome Koko Chanel' A recent MRI conducted on Coby at Ohio State University, which was involved in the care and treatment of his condition, determined that "the prognosis for corrective surgery was poor" and that the dog had "a low chance" of walking "normally" and "without pain" again. Ultimately, the zoo's animal programs and health staff "made the difficult decision" to euthanize him shortly before the new year. Columbus Zoo Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. "Coby was a joy for our Animal Programs staff and everyone he came into contact with over the past 8 years," zoo officials on Thursday. "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." RHOBH's Kyle Richards Adds New Puppy to Her Pet Pack of 5 Dogs: 'Love You So Much Already' Columbus Zoo Zoo officials also lauded Coby's "phenomenal" ability to connect with guests, who he "loved to greet" everywhere he went. "Coby made everyone feel special," they said. "Coby was a pillar of our Animal Programs department and a treasured member of our Zoo family," zoo officials added. "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." Bilingual Dogs: New Brain Scan Research Finds the Dogs Can Discern Between Different Languages Columbus Zoo In addition to his work with cheetahs, Coby was known as "the go-to canine companion" to comfort new baby zoo animals and animals that had recently undergone surgery. Zoo officials aid Coby also played a "pivotal" role in mentoring fellow companion dogs Cash and Cullen, "with whom he spent hours playing and dozing" during his life. "Please keep our Animal Programs team in your thoughts," zoo officials added.