Monday, October 27, 2014

Miracle of the Washington, D.C. Temple Guard Dog

              The original sketch concept of the Washington, D.C. Temple, by Keith W. Wilcox.

By Lynn Arave

SOMETIMES it is difficult to separate fact from fiction.
I'd heard the tale of the miraculous Washington, D.C. LDS Temple "guard dog," but wondered if it was really true, or was it one of those "faith-promoting rumors" -- an urban legend of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
-Finally, on Oct. 27, 2014, I got a chance to visit with and interview Sister Viva May Wilcox, widow of one of the D.C. Temple's four architects, the late Keith W. Wilcox of Ogden, Utah. (Wilcox's sketch was used for the Temple's outside design.)
She said the story was true. (She didn't recall what the dog was called, though.)
Later, I found out the dog was a German Shepherd, who the temple builders called Zacharias.
The large dog did indeed strangely show up at the temple grounds right when it was needed, to help curb the theft of construction materials at the temple site overnight.
On one occasion, it even alerted a security guard when a fire had started at the temple site.
Sister Wilcox said no one knows where it came from, or what happened to it. The animal simply acted like it was supposed to guard the grounds after the workers left for the night.
In another story version I heard, the dog died soon after the temple was finished and was buried at the temple site. (Some say the dog's grave marker was removed years later.)
Another church member said there was originally a plaque on the temple site that told the guard dog story, but that it was removed years later.
In still another version, a construction worker reportedly took the dog home after the temple was completed.
But in all versions of the story, everyone involved believed the canine had been sent by the Lord to help protect the temple.
So, there's the dog miracle of the LDS Church.
And, ALL dogs do go to heaven ...

  A stained glass-like rendition of the Washington, D.C. LDS Temple, that the Wilcox home has hanging in the front window.

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 


  1. Our library used to have a black and white filmstrip of the Washington DC Temple Dog, but the filmstrip got thrown out when a new librarian decided to modernize it. I wish I had collected that. It was an inspiring story.

  2. There used to be a plaque on the temple grounds that told the story, but I went back recently and couldn't find it. It must have been moved.