As the circle of life dictates, newborn animals tend to need a parent animal to show them the ropes and teach them proper animal behavior. As sad as it can be, baby animals without a parent by their side stand a much lower chance of survival in the wild and need help understanding how to behave like an animal in captivity. That’s where Blakely the Australian Shepherd comes in to save the day. Blakely is the Cincinnati Zoo’s resident nurse dog, which is both the cutest job description and also a super important one.
Blakely has helped raise a variety of animals at the zoo from takins to oceleots to wallabies, but his latest job is his largest project yet. Five cheetah babies, orphaned after their mother died from C-section complications, are now under Blakely’s care for a few hours each day. The Aussie nurtures the cheetah cubs and guides them as they explore the world and their capabilities. Most importantly, Blakely teaches them how to differentiate between affectionate biting and more firm nips. He also serves as a canine version of jungle bars where the cubs can climb all over him and exercise. According to the zoo, this daily activity is very helpful for the cheetahs to keep their muscles moving and maintain healthy bowel activity.
The zoo says that the baby cheetahs are currently very fragile and are being hand fed every few hours so Blakely has his work cut out for him when it comes to high-priotity responsibilities here. It is both heroic and a truly adorable display of interspecies animal bonding.