When it comes to post-op recovery for a cheetah cub in San Diego, the doctor ordered lots of playtime with his puppy friend.
As Ruuxa, the new cheetah cub at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, stepped outside for a little R&R after a recent surgery, his puppy playmate was right by his side.
Raina, a brown Rhodesian ridgeback puppy, was paired with Ruuxa just weeks after his birth.
Handlers kept the two close as Ruuxa underwent surgery on Sept. 3 to repair growth abnormalities in his front limbs. She sat nearby through the whole procedure, zoo staffers said.
Ruuxa is recovering as expected and showed a lot of strength and energy as he wreslted with Raina and pounced on his toys Tuesday.
Officials believe the puppy’s presence has made the whole process less stressful for the cheetah.
The two are paired together through the Safari Park’s animal ambassador program. Ruuxa was rejected by his mother – which is often the case when a single cub is born – so a dog us used to help the cub navigate the outside world.
The goal is to develop a kinship between the two animals so the dog can keep the cheetah calm in public settings.
While he recovers, Ruuxa is on limited activity. Even so, the public may see the pair if they pay an additional fee to sign up for a Behind-the-Scenes Cheetah & Friends Tour when they visit the park.