This picture just melts your heart, doesn't it?
Cover Image Source: Alcateia.com
No matter where you go or visit, chances are you will find stray dogs on the road. According to the National Animal Interest Alliance, the World Health Organization "estimates that there are more than 200 million stray dogs worldwide." But have you ever thought about where these animals sleep at night, especially during the winters? At the end of the year, when the weather turns cold, many stray animals try to find warmth wherever they can. While some stores and homes open their doors to provide comfort to these poor animals, not everyone is so generous. Those who cannot find a warm place to stay run the risk of dying from exposure to the cold temperatures.
Similar is the case of one puppy in Brazil. On a cold December night of 2008, all that little puppy wanted was a safe and warm place to spend the night. Luckily, he came across a nativity scene on display. The puppy did what he thought was the best. He curled up next to baby Jesus and slept. The next day, the residents of Santa Catarin, Brazil, woke up to see an adorable German Shepherd pup sleeping next to baby Jesus in his manger, reported Animal Channel.
Word spread fast and people started gathering around the puppy. After waking up, he was surprised to see all the people but he wasn't bothered by the crowd and stayed put in his spot. People who came to see the heartwarming scene took a few pictures and they quickly went viral. Since then, they kept circulating these images every year during the holiday season. So one might wonder why these pictures are so popular even after a decade since it released?
That's because it tells the story of a true Christmas miracle. When the residents saw the puppy sleeping on the manger of baby Jesus, they didn't shout at the puppy or chase him away. Instead, they showed compassion to the poor animal. If you think about it, it's kind of fitting, too. Mary and Jesus too found shelter at a manger, and Christ was born. As for the puppy, no one knows for sure where the puppy went, but the general belief is that the dog was adopted to a loving home in Santa Catarin.
Unlike people, stray animals don't have the option of going to a shelter or home. More often than not, they are left to fend for themselves or be at the mercy of the people on whose streets they live. In some extreme cases, these animals have succumbed to such harsh temperatures. At the very least, they have to spend an uncomfortable night in freezing temperatures.
Thankfully, a lot of kind individuals from all around the world have taken pity on these animals. For example, a coffee shop in Mytilene, Lesbos, located in Greece, allows stray dogs in after customers have left for the night. Once they are inside, the dogs can sleep on the cushioned benches within the shop. The owner of the coffee shop, Bill McMillian, in an interview with Life with Dogs said, "Here in Greece our homes are not large enough for all of us to house animals. That’s why we look after the street dogs. We feed them, pet them, and play with them. They are like our own pets, but they belong to everyone instead."