This Australian Shepherd proved to the world that impossible is nothing in the eyes of a dog when he became a single father to five orphaned cheetah cubs. Shortly after giving birth to the children, their mother died away, and the children’s prospects of surviving were exceedingly small. But, because to Blakely, a very kind dog, they all received a second opportunity!
Their mother, Willow, was a legal resident at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Cheetah Breeding Facility in Ohio, where the five cubs were born: three males and two girls. Unfortunately, the 5-year-old girl went suddenly a few weeks after giving birth as a result of problems during the delivery.
The staff did all they could to preserve the cubs, but they were all well aware that it would be almost impossible. During their first few weeks of life, it is vital for the cubs to stay close to their moms. Nonetheless, they transported the cubs to the nursery, where they received the greatest medical care possible and were bottle-fed around the clock by the staff. The most important thing for the employees, though, was to maintain their body temperatures. They only need the warmth of their mother’s body. It was at this point that Blakely stepped in!
Rather than being a service dog, Blakely, who has been a resident of the institution for more than five years, after being rescued from a local shelter at the age of seven months, is more of a therapy dog. His previous encounters with such situations had given him confidence. In the beginning, he was utilized as a support dog for another cheetah who had lost her cub, and later, he was used to consoling an orphaned calf. As a result, the first time he and the cubs met, they formed an instant relationship. When they are with Blakely, they have the comfort of a mother, and the tiny ones seem to be enjoying themselves as they snuggle and clamber all over him. Although they are getting along so well, Blakely only visits them twice a day despite the fact that they are getting along so well. Staff members look after them during their downtime, ensuring their food and water needs are met.
In any case, the loving dog will stay by their side for an extended period of time from now on. According to the zoo’s chief nursery keeper, Dawn Strasser, “when the cubs mature, Blakely’s function in their development will evolve from climbable buddy and hairy warm body to teacher and role model.” Blakely has been with the zoo since she was a cub.