A Dog in the Manger in New York City

If you go to New York City's magnificent St. Patrick's Cathedral in the next few weeks and mosey up to the Christmas crche, you'll find...


<img alt="Msgr. Robert Ritchie, rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral, with the dog in the manger (Photo: Jefferson Siegel, New York Daily News). ” class=”size-full wp-image-44072″ title=”Screen shot 2011-12-06 at 6.34.10 AM” src=”https://qa.dogster.com/blog_uploads/dogblog/2011/12/Screen-shot-2011-12-06-at-6.34.10-AM.png” alt=”” width=”416″ height=”269″ />

If you go to New York City’s magnificent St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the next few weeks and mosey up to the Christmas crche, you’ll find a new critter at the depiction of the birth of Christ: a dog.

A Golden Retriever, to be precise.

The dog joins the usual array of animals, including a sheep, a donkey, an ox, and a camel. Why a dog?

Didnt the shepherds have dogs to help herd the sheep? Msgr. Robert Ritchie, rector of St. Patrick’s, told the New York Daily News.

Ritchie, whose 15-year-old Labrador Retriever is a vital part of his life, is in charge of the Nativity scene. He says he’s always felt something was missing from the manger. I was in two parishes before I came here where they had dogs in their crches, he said. And when I was in Rome last January I was in two churches where they had dogs. So I said, St. Patricks had to have a dog.

The reaction from most church visitors has been pretty positive, and even Ritchie’s dog, Lexington, was intrigued when he first saw the manger’s new addition. “He came over and gave it a sniff, a lick on the nose, and then kind of ignored him.

Our friends over at Catster might wonder if a cat could soon join the baby Jesus. Sorry, Catsters, but probably not if Ritchie is involved: “I’m a dog man.”

What do you think, Dogsters? Do you like the idea of a dog in the manger? Or should the creche show just the people and animals the Bible mentions were at the birth of Jesus?

Here’s a little bonus manger item for you, Dogsters. A couple of years ago, my writer pal Daniela Caride ran some photos of a super touching scene on her fun blog, The Daily Tail. They show a homeless dog in a small town in Santa Catarina, south of Brazil. He seemed to find the perfect place to get a little rest and comfort.

Awww! I sure hope that dog was not homeless for long after this.

These dogs give the phrase “dog in the manger” a whole new meaning, don’t you think? If you’re not clear on the origins or meaning of the phrase, here’s an odd little animated video that shows how it came to be. (My, what a deep voice the dog has!)

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