Best Friends Cheetah and Dog Scamper Around Safari Park

The zoo released new footage of the duo rolling around and exploring new areas

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ruuxa the cheetah and Raina the dog are now nearly four months old. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, who released this video, has paired the two as part of its animal ambassador program. (Published Friday, Sep 5, 2014)

    The claws are coming out, but what’s a little rough-housing between two really adorable friends?

    Cheetah cub Ruuxa and his dog pal Raina, now over three months old, are getting the chance to explore new areas of the San Diego Safari Park.

    Cheetah and Puppy Paired as Lifelong Companions Cheetah and Puppy Paired as Lifelong Companions

    The unlikely best friends were paired up by zookeepers after Ruuxa was rejected by his mother. Cheetahs are typically born in litters, but when a single cub is born, the mother often abandons it.

    So to help the tiny cub navigate the outside world, the zoo introduced him to Raina, a Rhodesian ridgeback puppy.

    The duo are training to be part of the Safari Park’s “animal ambassador” program, which has enlisted four furry pairs.

    4 New Lion Cubs at San Diego Safari Park 4 New Lion Cubs at San Diego Safari Park

    Developing a special kinship as they are raised together, the dog helps the cheetah stay calm in new and public settings. Zookeepers hope to train Ruuxa to become one of the animals on display at the Park’s Cheetah Run experience.

    But his training is much cuter than, say, a Rocky fighting montage. The zoo released video this week of Ruuxa and Raina’s work together, which included a lot of playful tackling, nipping and nuzzling.