Proving to the world that nothing is impossible for dogs, the Australian shepherd has become a single father to five orphaned cheetahs. The baby’s mother died shortly after giving birth, and their chances of survival were slim. But they got a second chance thanks to Blakely – a very caring dog!
Five babies (3 boys and 2 girls) were born in the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Cheetah Breeding Facility in Ohio, where their mother Willow lived. Unfortunately, the 5-year-old female died of complications a few weeks after giving birth.
The staff did their best to save the cubs, but everyone knew it was almost impossible. It is very important for pups to be close to their mother during the first few weeks of life. However, they took their little ones to nurseries, where they received the best medical care and were bottle-fed by the hour. But the most important thing for the staff was to stay warm. They just needed a mother’s warmth. This is when Blakely intervened!
Blakely, who became a resident of the facility more than five years ago after being rescued from a local shelter at the age of seven months, looks more like a therapy dog. The Australian Shepherd is not his first experience of this kind. He was first used as a support dog for another cheetah, after she lost her pup, and then he comforted a calf. So he and the little cubs bonded the first time they met. Blakely gave them motherly comfort, and the little things seemed so happy to snuggle up to him and climb over him. But despite getting along so well, Blakely is only with them twice a day. The rest of the time, employees make sure they’re well fed and rested.
In any case, the caring dog will be with them for many years to come. “As the pups grow up, Blakely’s role will shift from a climbing companion and hairy warm body to a teacher and role model,” the zoo’s head nursery keeper Dawn Strasser said.