Blakely, a 5-year-old Australian shepherd linking at the Cincinnati Zoo, has a new assignment: Dale, a 6-week-old takin.
The goat-antelope like animal was born on June 26, and because he couldn’t stand properly, his mother to immediately abandon him. The takin (rhymes with “walkin”) immediately got moved to the nursery and Blakely stepped in. As the zoo’s resident animal “nanny,” it is the dog’s responsibility to show Dale the ropes: how to behave as an animal, something it’s human caretakers can’t teach. So, for instance, if the takin happens to get too rough with his head butts, the dog will let him know.
“It’s an art,” Dawn Strasser, nursery and quarantine head keeper, told USA Today. “It’s not just sitting there looking at him; it’s that interaction that makes a big difference.”
This isn’t Blakely’s first rodeo. The Australian shepherd was rescued from a shelter at seven months old and has taken a baby cheetah, an ocelot, an aardvark, serval, infant warthog, a fox and brother wallabies under his wings.
While Dale is his newest responsibility, the 50-pound animal will grow to 500 pounds and leave the nursery. Blakely will not. The dog lives there permanently and his presence is known – toys everywhere, a dog bed and futon are all his.
“This is his home,” Strasser tells the outlet.
H/T USA Today Photos Credit: The Enquirer/ Liz Dufour