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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Back now with Day to Day, and a pathetically cheap attempt at audience-building on the part of our show, a story about a golden retriever mom dog nursing a pack of white tiger cubs. Allie Harvey joins us on the phone from the Safari Zoological Park in southeast Kansas. Allie, welcome to Day to Day.

Ms. ALLIE HARVEY (Owner, Safari Zoological Park): Thank you.

CHADWICK: Hey, we've got pictures at npr.org...

(Soundbite of laughter)

CHADWICK: Of a golden retriever nursing your white tiger cubs. What happened?

Ms. HARVEY: Yes, sir. Well, our momma white tiger had babies Sunday evening about seven p.m. And she nursed them through the night, and sometime during the midday, she abandoned them in the middle of their habitat. I had previously got my golden retriever for this particular reason. I had seen it on Animal Planet several years back that several zoos were using golden retrievers and labs for surrogate mothers.

CHADWICK: Surrogate mothers for tigers?

Ms. HARVEY: Yeah. Yeah, well, you know, the nurturing part, you have to stimulate them to use the restroom and different things like that. And the dogs are very nurturing, and they lick them and clean them and do that type of things.

CHADWICK: Your golden retriever must have just had a litter of her own pups, right?

Ms. HARVEY: Yes. She did. They're four and a half weeks now.

CHADWICK: Four and a half weeks, they wouldn't be quite done nursing either, would they?

Ms. HARVEY: They're not quite, but she only had two puppies and she could have as many as 10. So, she's got plenty of room and lots of milk to offer, and the little puppies are - actually look like little black bears. They're just chubby chunks.

CHADWICK: The listeners are going to hate those pictures.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CHADWICK: Well, Let's go...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. HARVEY: Chubby, chunky puppies.

CHADWICK: Let's get onto these white tiger cubs there, because they don't like black bears. They look like actual white tigers nursing at a golden retriever. It's just crazy.

Ms. HARVEY: Yeah, that's right.

CHADWICK: So, you run this zoological park there in Kansas.

Ms. HARVEY: Yes.

CHADWICK: And I guess, actually, you'd been running into some hard times.

Ms. HARVEY: Yes. Outside of Caney, Kansas, is not the prime location to have a zoological park. Actually, my husband founded the park about 20 year ago, and it has just kind of grown from that and so, location wasn't issue way back then, but it is certainly now with the gas prices. It doesn't have a lot of traffic.

CHADWICK: Well, it does now...

Ms. HARVEY: Yes.

CHADWICK: Because this picture's gotten out and people...

(Soundbite of laughter)

CHADWICK: "The Today's Show" has been there, and here's NPR calling you and...

Ms. HARVEY: Yes. We're very thankful, and we do feel like we have a lot to offer, and it's very educational, very entertaining. We call it the People's Zoo, because it's all of us working together to help save endangered species. And that's what we're all about. So, this really a blessing.

CHADWICK: How long can you go on with your golden retriever nursing these tiger cubs?

Ms. HARVEY: You know, I'm only going to let her nurse them about two weeks. This is just a crucial point when these babies are very, very small...

CHADWICK: Yeah.

Ms. HARVEY: And they need to eat through the night.

CHADWICK: Yeah.

Ms. HARVEY: In about two weeks, I'll be able to take them and start bottle-feeding them myself. And that way, I might only have to get up maybe once, not, you know, every two hours. That's what I would have to do, had my golden retriever not been lactating.

CHADWICK: Allie Harvey and her husband, Tom, from the Safari Zoological Park in southeast Kansas. Allie, thank you very much.

Ms. HARVEY: Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

CHADWICK: And good luck with the litter.

Ms. HARVEY: Thank you.

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