Blakely isn’t your ordinary Australian Shepherd. He’s got a knack for taking on abandoned babies in need, and we don’t just mean puppies. Recently at the Cincinnati Zoo, his regular home, a Malaysian tiger mother abandoned her babies. This raised more than the normal concern for zoo staff. There are an estimated 500 Malaysian tigers left in the world – which means these babies are some of the very last of their species. Before long, Malaysian tigers are destined to become extinct. So when Blakely took on the role of stepdad, they were thrilled.
These three little tiger cubs aren’t the only babies Blakely has helped raised. In his resumé you’ll find ocelots, aardvarks, cheetahs, wallabies, bat-eared foxes, warthogs and more! He is truly an amazing caregiver and the zoo staff regularly wonders at his incredible parenting skills. None of these babies are his own and he is male – therefore likely lacking any sort of mothering instincts a female dog might have. Instead, he’s just a patient, loving, nurturing dog that wants to help all of the babies he can – regardless of species.
Blakely isn’t the only dog helping out at zoos, either. Dogs around the world are taking on the job of befriending various species. Coby is a Labrador Retriever at the Columbus Zoo who’s job is to be a companion for the cheetahs in the park. Yeti, an Anatolian Shepherd, also works alongside cheetahs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as well as several other shelter dogs. Dogs are certainly man’s best friend, but they’re proving to be great ambassadors for wildlife all over the world. Without them, we might not be as lucky trying to save the many endangered species across the globe.