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Zoo's Nanny Dog Roars Into Action

Get ready to say "aw." Blakely, the Cincinnati Zoo's Australian shepherd nursery nanny, has a new set of charges.

"The six-year-old super dog has been called into action to provide snuggling, comfort and a body to climb" for three Malayan tiger cubs born last month, says the Zoo in a news release.

"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," says Dawn Strasser, head of Cincinnati Zoo's nursery staff. "This is something that their human surrogates can't do."

Blakely has cared for a host of Zoo babies including cheetahs, an ocelot, a takin, wallabies and more.

"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. 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," Strasser says.

Credit Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.