Homeless Puppy Finds Warmth in Manger with Baby Jesus at Nativity Scene


It was a cold and rainy December afternoon in the town of Criciúma, located in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Families strolled through the town square, the Praca Nereu Ramos, enjoying the anticipation of Christmas.

Local resident Kiko Della Giustina was among the faces who paused for a moment to take in the city’s crèche. The lovely nativity scene was decorated with deep red poinsettia plants, which surrounded the ceramic Mary and Joseph and drew the eye toward baby Jesus lying in the manger.

Giustina will likely never forget the moment he gazed upon the wooden manger and saw a small dog, curled up right alongside baby Jesus. The dog seemingly had nowhere else to go, fitting for the story, and had apparently found the nativity scene as inviting as everyone else.

The year was 2008. Giustina snapped a handful of photos of the pup and the babe, which have been in circulation now for nearly 10 years.

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The photos became popular over the years, and many viewers wondered if it was simply a clever Photoshop stunt. Social media was relatively new at the time — Facebook was “born” in 2004 — so for a while, it was difficult to locate the photographer behind the touching photos, thus fueling rumors about the story’s authenticity.

Giustina has since posted the photos to Facebook, and every Christmas the images resurface around the internet. People seem to enjoy the rekindled awe and mystery of the dog lying in the manger — wondering about her fate.

In December 2009, blogger Ana Corina of Mae de Cachorro shared an email she received from Giustina, who detailed the event. According to Corina, the dog was indeed a stray, familiar to local shopkeepers in the city square.

“I had the great honor and happiness of having clicked the pictures of the scene this beautiful and abandoned dog in the manger,” Giustina’s email began. I’ll never forget, it was a cold, rainy day.”

Giustina confessed the sight brought tears to his eyes, but he knew he couldn’t adopt the dog. “Unfortunately, I just did not take him home because I live in an apartment and I already have two street adoptees,” Giustina explained.

His worry later turned to joy with the good news that made the internet swell with happiness. “But I learned later that it was adopted,” Giustina concluded.

More recently, another street dog from Brazil found a clever path to his forever home. But rather than choose a bed of straw, this dog chose to lay his head on a bride’s floor-length wedding veil.

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Marília Pieroni and Matheus Gomes Martins live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They married on Sept. 30, in Laranjal Paulista, Brazil.

There was something about the pup that touched the newlyweds. The couple searched for him for a week after the wedding until finally, they found him.

They knew they wanted to adopt him. So just 10 days after their wedding, Snoop joined the couple at their home.

This holiday season, lots of cats and dogs will need a home. If yours isn’t found lying in a manger or on your bridal veil, look around — he or she is probably not far.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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