A five-year-old rescued Australian shepherd named Blakely has one of the most important jobs at the Cincinnati Zoo: He helps raise orphaned animals. With infinite patience, the friendly pup cares for young cheetahs, ocelots, foxes, hogs, and wallabies in need of a little affection. He’s currently taking care of a group of rambunctious cheetah cubs, teaching them the social skills they’ll need when they’re finally introduced to adult members of their own species.
In the short video for Great Big Story, Head Nursery Keeper Dawn Strasser explains just how important Blakely’s job is. Human caretakers, she says, can only do so much when it comes to raising baby animals. While humans are equipped to provide food, healthcare, and affection, it’s difficult for them to teach orphaned animals the correct animal cues and appropriate behaviors.
According to Strasser, Blakely is a near-perfect parent, letting the tiny cheetahs paw and nip at him without losing his temper. “He’s never shown any aggression or snapped,” says Strasser. “If he’s upset, kind of like any mom would, he just leaves the room.” Watch Blakely in action in the short video above, and for more adorable videos of Blakely looking after baby animals, check out the Cincinnati Zoo YouTube channel.
Banner Image Credit: Great Big Story, YouTube