Watch a Rescue Dog Care for Orphaned Zoo Babies

Blakely the Australian Shepherd works at the Cincinnati Zoo’s nursery, helping to care for and socialize orphaned young animals.

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Have you ever seen a pup wrestle with a wallaby? Or teach a cheetah how to play? It’s actually one dog’s job at the Cincinnati Zoo to care for and socialize motherless baby animals. And the pooch with such an important assignment is a 5-year-old Australian Shepherd rescue named Blakely.

He’s the gentlest, most patient creature you could imagine, but he takes his work seriously. In this two-minute video, we get a glimpse at Blakely’s gig as a companion dog at the zoo’s nursery. He’s essentially a nanny, watching over orphaned animals and teaching them the correct animal cues in a way that no human ever could. He also alerts the zookeeping staff if his charges — currently a foursome of cheetahs — are making too much noise or are up to no good.

The footage shows Blakely putting up with a rambunctious baby cheetah, checking in on Dale the takin (a type of goat-antelope), and napping in the zookeeper’s office — because watching over baby animals 24 hours a day can be exhausting.

Since two minutes isn’t nearly enough of this adorable peek inside part of the animal kingdom, the zoo has posted more video on its website.

Whitney C. Harris

Whitney is a New York-based writer for websites including Dogster,, and A former book and magazine editor, she enjoys running (with her dog, Finley), watching movies (also with Finley), and cooking meatless meals (usually with Finley watching close by). She and her husband (and Finley, too) welcomed a baby girl named Rowan in August.


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