Blakely, a 5-year-old Australian Shepherd, calls the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden nursery his permanent home. He is the resident babysitter, surrogate parent, and all-around boss of both the zoo keepers and the young animals who, for whatever reason, were abandoned by their mothers.
Dale, on the other hand, is (currently) a 50-pound takin, a strange-looking goat/buffalo/antelope-looking creature that will one day tip the scales at 500 pounds. Blakely’s job is to act as Dale’s nanny, teaching him how to properly behave around other animals once he’s too old and too large to remain in the nursery.
Even getting Dale up in the morning “just takes a while,” according to nursery and quarantine head keeper, Dawn Strasser. But if you had a 50lb baby, you might find this task just as difficult!
If Dale gets too rough during play, Blakely will push right back, and if Dale stumbles and falls–he’s still very much learning to walk on those stilts of his–Blakely turns a blind eye and keeps on moving. No room for babying, here! Together, this well-adjusted dog is helping Dale learn and adjust in a way that humans can’t.
Before the takin baby, Blakely was nanny to a cheetah cub, skunk, wallaby, serval, warthog, and fox. Talk about living on the wild side! For a glimpse into their unusual relationship, check out these two unlikely pals kickin’ it at the zoo in the video below.