It is always important to keep your friends close when you are going through hard times. Ruuxa, a cheetah cub, feels the same way with his best friend Raina, a Rhodesian ridgeback puppy. Ruuxa and Raina might seem like an unusual friendship but they are as close as brother and sister.
When Ruuxa was going through a medical crisis, it was Raina that would not leave his side.
Ruuxa is a cheetah cub that was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari park. She was born as the only cub in the litter. There were no cheetah cub siblings for Ruuxa to bond and grow up with, that is when Raina was introduced to Ruuxa. The two have been inseparable ever since they were small little babies.
Ruuxa means spirit in Somali and Raina means guardian in German.
The two perfect names for the two best friends.
The San Diego Zoo has been successfully pairing cheetah cubs with puppies for companionship since the 1980s. The technique has even spread out too many zoos. The San Diego Zoo Nature Park has stated that the bond between Ruuxa and Raina is the closest they have seen.
No one can keep these two buddies apart!
Quickly the zookeepers realized that Ruuxa had a medical issue.
Ruuxa had chondrodysplasia, which caused his front limbs to grow inward. This would keep Ruuxa from ever being able to run, a cheetah’s natural instinct. Ruuxa had to have a surgery to try and let him be able to run. It was unknown if the surgery would be a success. Raina never left Ruuxa’s side throughout the entire healing process.
An animal training supervisor stated,
“Raina was right by Ruuxa’s side for the entire thing. She really helped him through it. His recovery was very fast. They were afraid that Ruuxa and Raina weren’t going to be able to socialize for a few weeks because we wanted to be very cautious with his healing legs. We couldn’t keep Raina away from Ruuxa or Ruuxa away. They were apart for 15 minutes. She was always very cautious of his bandaged legs … she was always very cautious around him and again really ended up stimulating his recovery making him more comfortable.”
With the help of Raina’s support, Ruuxa not only walks normal but he is running! Ruuxa has no limitations and is still best friends with Raina. Raina can run up to 20 miles per hour but Ruuxa has gotten up to 70-75 miles per hour and expected to run even faster as he grows.
The San Diego Nature Park knows the importance of Ruuxa and Raina’s bond, so they plan on letting the two stay best friends forever.
Sadly, following Raina was diagnosed with terminal cancer since the video. Ruuxa has now turned into the caregiver in their friendship. Ruuxa and Raina understand hard times and it has never slowed them down before. They know that by having each other they can get through anything.
So many people have been inspired by Ruuka and Raina’s life story that a children’s book has been written about their story by Georgeanne Irvine. The book is titled, “Ruuxa & Raina: A Cheetah & Dog’s True Story of Friendship & Miracles.” The story helps children learn the importance of friendship and also learn about cheetahs! The book is available for purchase through many bookseller websites including Amazon.
Watch the full video about Ruuka and Raina’s bond and friendship right below.
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