In Palenque, Mexico, a quaint Nativity scene was put on display within a small tent in the town’s main square. It features the typical array of holiday figurines posed in peaceful silence.
But in recent days, they were joined by someone unexpected.
Earlier this week, a sweet stray dog evidently noticed the Navity scene — and decided to claim the manger within it as her own.
Turns out, however, she was not alone.
Local journalist Eric Guzmán was among the first to spot the pup there, curled up inside the straw-lined display. But much like the storied characters the Nativity scene depicts, she hadn’t chosen the spot to merely relax.
Upon closer inspection, Guzmán realized that the dog had recently given birth to a litter of tiny puppies.
It seems, having no better option available, she’d picked the manger as a safe place to have her babies.
“I was awestruck, and at the same time joyful seeing that she had her puppies in a safe place where they won’t get wet or cold,” Guzmán told The Dodo. “It’s been cold lately in Palenque, but it’s usually hot throughout the year.”
The seeming symbolism of the dogs’ presence there hasn’t been lost on the community.
Guzmán began spreading the word about the dog and her puppies in the manger, and since then, people from Palenque have been making the pilgrimage to see them firsthand — some bearing gifts of food and water for the young family.
Even local officials have gotten involved, deciding that the mother dog and her puppies will be allowed to stay.
Meanwhile, allusions of holiness aside, animal advocates from Dejando Huellitas S.O.S. Palenque have stepped in, too, to ensure that the dogs continue to be cared for now and in the years to come.
They’ve already begun seeking out homes for the pups once the holidays have passed.
For Guzmán, the birth of puppies inside the Nativity scene manger isn’t quite a miracle — but he hopes it will leave a lasting legacy regardless.Dejando Huellitas S.O.S. Palenque
“Hopefully, we as citizens will become more aware when it comes to dogs, to adopt strays [rather than buy dogs],” Guzmán said. “We should love dogs, no matter where they come from.”