Ruxxa the cheetah with Raina the dog.

Faithful, furry BFFs

Ruxxa and Raina as babies.

Best buddies

Friends can come in all shapes, sizes, and sometimes, even different species! For example, Ruuxa the African cheetah and Raina, a Rhodesian ridgeback dog. Growing up together at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Ruuxa and Raina, were pals from the time they were cub and pup. These two stuck together, through thick and thin!

Ruxxa after surgery, with his two front legs in casts.

Trouble afoot

When Ruuxa was a couple of months old, his human caretakers noticed that his front legs weren't growing normally, so he had to go the hospital for surgery. Guess who went with him to keep him company? That's right—his best friend, Raina! After Ruuxa healed and they were a little older, the pair moved to a place at the Park where they could be together all the time.

Ruxxa and Raina playing.

A challenge for Raina

After a few years, it was Ruuxa's turn to stand by his friend when Raina was diagnosed with cancer. The pair, and Safari Park wildlife care experts, soon learned how important it is, and how much can happen, when you have a best buddy by your side. The whole story ended up as a book in our "Hope & Inspiration" series, Ruuxa & Raina: A Cheetah and Dog's True Story of Friendship and Miracles, which can be purchased here. Friends are a special kind of medicine!