A nursery dog is stepping in to help nurse five cheetah cubs
Five cheetah cubs were born by C-section on March 8th in Ohio, a difficult birth that caused the mother, Willow, to pass away in labor. Blakely the dog is an unlikely nanny for a litter of jungle cats, but the Cincinnati Zoo had to think outside the spots.
Five cheetah cubs in the zoo nursery get a dog friend to spend time with them and help them develop.
The cubs have been bottle-fed by staff since their birth on March 8.
Now, the zoo has employed the expertise of another baby animal whisperer - an Australian Shepherd dog named Blakely.
Blakley is a male dog, so he's not nursing the cubs; he does, however, have another very important job, zoo staff said.
"His first job is to let the cubs climb on him, which they did as soon as they were put together," said nursery keeper Dawn Strasser. "They need exercise to build muscle tone and get their guts moving."
Apparently, Blakely's presence -plus the diligence of nursery staff who bottle feed the cubs and massage their bellies - is doing the job.
"They really turned a corner this weekend. They opened their eyes, had good appetites, and, most importantly, they pooped!" Strasser said.
(WATCH the video above from the Cincinatti Zoo)