CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Zoo staff spent Wednesday celebrating the retirement of an employee who’s worked with them for most of his life: Blakely, a devoted nanny dog who’s raised some of the world’s most colorful litters.
The 6-year-old Australian shepherd was adopted by the zoo to act as a foster parent to baby animals that had been rejected by their parents.
While zookeepers took care of baby animals' physical needs, Blakely became their babysitter, taking on many of the social responsibilities -- such as snuggling, playing and disciplining -- that would typically be performed by a mother.
MORE ABOUT BLAKELY: How did this dog end up raising tiger cubs?
With his help, orphaned and abandoned baby takins, cheetahs, foxes and more have become fully functional adults who know the correct way to interact with other animals.
Blakely will become a permanent addition to the family of head nursery keeper Dawn Strasser, who trained him as a puppy and has continued to care for him throughout his working life. We’re guessing there are plenty of long walks and long naps in this retiree’s future.
Good boy, Blakely!