Cato lept from his nest bed in the great room, growling, barking, and bellowing. I peered at the digital clock in our bedroom. 3:36 am. Early morning on Maundy Thursday.

“There must be something out there,” I said to Keith. “I’ll go check.”

Cato raced between me and the kitchen door, with Heathcliff not far behind. The boys sleep in the great room, as pictured; Freya generally stays with us in our bedroom. When I turned on the outside light, I saw the backside of an enormous bear with beautiful, shiny black fur. There was no way I was going to let our dogs out.

“Good boy, Cato, good boy. It’s okay. Stay.” The bear had pulled a large storage bin into the center of the dining deck and dumped the bin over. Finding no food, the bear moved on. While I held the dogs inside, Keith righted the bin, returned the contents—mostly lanterns and deck furniture pillows—and closed the lip to protect everything from the coming rain. Then we all went back to bed.

Though obedient to his duty as a guard dog, Cato puppy is still learning pack rules. Old dogs Heathcliff and Freya model for him; Keith and I persevere with daily training for all three dogs.


Today, I offer my take on the Perennial Gen’s theme for April—perseverance. The post went live last Thursday on their site:

P.S. For those who would like to see Keith and me in action, I offer Bethany Lutheran Church’s Resurrection Sunday service with Keith as reader a little before 24 minutes and me playing the offertory a little after minute 46—the music starts and eventually the camera shifts to us:


  1. Gary Fultz

    You did the right thing keeping Cato in Carole. I have two friends who each lost their dogs to bear last summer. Bless their canine heart, they want to protect. My problem is I grab the camera and try for a picture.

    • Carole Duff

      Oh my, Gary, I’m so sad to hear of your friends’ dogs. I didn’t think to grab my phone to get a picture until after the bear had left. But our neighbors noticed signs of a bear digging around their hot tub, set up a camera, and recorded the bear 6 minutes before he visited us. Quite an impressive creature.

  2. bigskybuckeye

    Carole, I enjoyed reading your post on Perennial Gen about perseverance. While I don’t own a dog, I have experienced watching dogs for my Ohio daughters who both live in the area around Columbus. They have all taught me a thing or two about patient perseverance.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you for your comment, Richard. God has ways of teaching us what we need to learn, with or without dogs. Bless your daughters in Ohio for giving their dogs good homes.


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