Most enclosed communities have a wall, grilles, partitions, what have you.
We're not quite at that stage.
But we have a formidable means of protection and guardianship.
It's the canine crew.
The one on the left is a Jack Russell "Terror" (Kieran); the one on the right is a Sheltie who has "herding issues"(Tessa).
As my brother-in-law has said, "Nobody is going to get into this house without you knowing about it!"
Yes, the barking can be, well, annoying, to use a decent term.
But they are "cloister dogs".
We have to work to socialize them, because they are not used to strangers. But do they ever love anyone in black or grey (the color of our habits)!
Kieran, the "Terror", is a typical Jack Russell. He is affectionate, very intelligent, extremely strong-willed, a bit temperamental (after 6 PM he "shuts down" and is not amused to be bothered) and loves to jump and do obstacle courses (like in the living room).
Tessa, the black and white Sheltie, is also affectionate, loyal and obedient although she is very shy with strangers and does NOT like to be picked up (she is known to have been muzzled at the vet's). And she barks at any noise, which sets off Kieran, which causes general mayhem. She is very fond of "herding" Br. Joseph when he wants to leave a room; so far, we have not been able to cure her of this, despite viewing numerous episodes of "It's Me or the Dog" with Victoria Stillwell on Animal Planet.
And yet, these dogs are a part of our life; they give us opportunities to laugh, to be patient, to persevere, to have the ancient companionship of the canine.
How could you resist this?
Yeah, I know, it's getting kinda "doggy" here.
But I'm glad we have them here; they have been a wonderful source of companionship for Br. Joseph, especially when I was gone to the seminary and then teaching in Connecticut last year. And they give us an opportunity to care for something other than ourselves; to look beyond our own immediate needs. That is why I believe God provided us with the pleasure of our pets.
Not to replace children. But to augment something in our lives.