Takins, as Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard notes in the video above, are not exactly cute by nature. The ox-like animals native to the Himalayas are aptly described by PBS as “bizarre looking creatures” that seem to have been “assembled from a variety of zoological sources.” But as babies? Yeah, they’re pretty adorable.
The young Takin in question, Dale, is just a month old, and is being raised temporarily in the zoo’s nursery. Did I mention he’s adorable? Well, he’s adorable. He looks like a baby goat, but is, somehow, even cuter. The video’s real emotional kicker, though, is that—because he’s been separated from the other Takins—Dale is in need of extra socialization in order to ensure a smooth reentry back into regular zoo life.
Enter Blakely, the zoo’s nursery dog, whose awesome full-time job is to befriend any young animal in need of some extra animal-to-animal TLC. Given that job description, Blakely has obviously played a similar role with a number of the zoo’s animal residents, but it’s hard to imagine a more heartwarming pair than he and Dale. They’re BFFs. Adorable, adorable cross-species BFFs.