Dog serves as a ‘Cheetah Mom’
I have previously written on the blog about the important role that dogs play in helping cheetahs.
I recently discovered a wonderful story that began this spring about a male dog named Blakely, an Australian Shepherd. Blakey now serves as a ‘cheetah mom’ to five cheetah cubs (three males and two females) at the Cincinnati Zoo, after the cheetah cubs’ mom, Willow, died after a giving birth to the cubs via caesarean section. You can view a video and see images of the cheetah cubs soon after their birth here.
As the cheetah cubs were being given round-the-clock bottle feeds, Blakely, was called into action to provide lots of snuggling and comfort to the cheetah cubs.
“His [Blakely’s] first job is to let the cubs climb on him, which they did as soon as they were put together,” explained the zoo’s head nursery keeper, Dawn Strasser. This exercise helps the cubs to build muscle tone and get their guts moving.
According to Strasser, “It is important to keep their digestive system moving. We’ve been massaging their bellies and giving them opportunities to exercise as much as possible.”
While the cubs grow, Blakely will continue to play an important role in their lives, shifting from “climbing frame and hairy body-warmer” to teacher and role model.
What a wonderful story, which illustrates the many roles that dogs play not only to humans, but to other animals as well!