When Ruuxa the cub was just a few months old, staff at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park realized there was something different about him.
After running some tests, they discovered he suffered from a rare genetic condition that impacted the way he could walk and run.
While that could’ve been the end for him in the wild, the staff were determined to give him the best life possible so they got him set up with surgeries and special care.
They also wanted Ruuxa to have a friend, someone that was like family that he could bond with. So, they decided to introduce him to Raina, an adorable Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy.
The two hit things off right away and it wasn’t long before they were bonded as close as family. A cheetah and a dog may not be the most natural of friends, but for Ruxxa and Raina, it’s all they’d ever known.
The cub and pup grew up side-by-side, becoming natural BFFs. Their relationship was really something special and it lasted for years until Raina sadly passed away in late April 2020.
Check out the video below:
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park announced Raina’s passing on Facebook, writing:
“Last week, we said goodbye to Raina, the beloved domestic dog and companion animal to Ruuxa the cheetah. Raina supported Ruuxa as he learned to run again after corrective surgery on his legs. Ruuxa returned the favor as Raina successfully battled an aggressive tumor and thrived for many years.”
They went on to say that Raina, unfortunately, had additional health issues and the medical staff decided to compassionately assist with her passing. They added, “Raina’s legacy will be carried on by Ruuxa’s second canine companion, Rae.”
It’s nice to know Ruuxa will still have a champion by his side, though no one can replace the relationship he had with Raina.