The 11-week-old pups got a lot of help from zookeepers and a golden retriever named Kassy.
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A northern Indiana zoo welcomed three new members, who are growing with the help of a golden retriever.
The African painted dog pups, an endangered species, were born Sept. 28 at the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend. The dogs’ mother, Bleu, gave birth to eight pups and didn’t initially care for the babies in the way she should have.
The zoo said they consulted with experts and decided to hand-raise the pups. Rather than bottle feeding the litter, the zoo was able to locate a golden retriever named “Kassy” who had a new litter of puppies and milk to share with the painted dogs.
The Indiana Council for Animal Welfare helped make the connection within hours, the zoo said.
The zoo made sure both Kassy’s puppies and the painted dog pups got plenty of time and food with her. Three of the painted dog pups survived.
“She’s a hero in our eyes,” the zoo said of Kassy.
PHOTOS: Endangered painted dog pups born at Potawatomi Zoo
Now 11 weeks old, the zoo says the pups, which they’ve temporarily named “Blue,” “Red” and “Orange” after the colors the staff has used to track them since birth, are “healthy, rambunctious and incredibly cute.”
As they continue to grow, the zoo plans to build them a new home near their mother and father, “Maurice,” along with Bleu’s sister, “Colby,” to hopefully help them learn natural painted dog behaviors.
Read more about the Potawatomi Zoo’s efforts to help the painted dog pups survive and grow, as well as their plan for the future.