Dogs are just the best snuggle buddies and providers of unconditional love, which could explain why the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens enlisted the help of a pup to help care for three female tiger cubs neglected by their mother. The rare Malayan tiger cubs were born on February 3, 2017 and now have a dog dad in a six-year-old Australian Shepherd named Blakely. The “super dog,” as coined by the Cincinnati Zoo, has been called into action to provide snuggling, comfort, and a body to climb according to the zoo.
(Photo Credit: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden)
Blakely is certainly not new to caring for zoo babies as he was a nanny to several other zoo babies in the past, like the baby takin (goat-cantelope) he cared for after the takin’s mother ignored him or the baby cheetahs Blakely nurtured when their mother passed away from complications surrounding labor.
"He's more than just a large, warm pillow for the cubs. Blakely is the adult in the room. He teaches them proper tiger etiquette by checking them when they're getting too rough or aggressive," said Dawn Strasser, head of Cincinnati Zoo's nursery staff. "This is something that their human surrogates can't do."
(Credit: Cincinnati Zoo YouTube)
"My team can feed and care for the tiger cubs, but we can't teach them the difference between a play bite and one that means 'watch out'. So, that's Blakely's job," said Strasser. "Just a little time with him at this early age will help them learn behaviors that will come in handy when they meet tigers at other zoos in the future."Blakely is doggone awesome. And the next time baby animals are in need of some loving, nurturing and mentoring, we are sure that Blakely the "super dog" will come to the rescue!
Written By: Riley