Monday, February 1, 2010

God, Dogs and Dog Sledding

“God, Dogs, and Dog Sledding”: an unlikely combination, or an unforgettable experience of God’s beauty in dogs, frozen lakes, snow-covered pines, and sledding in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota? That’s what 13 college students, Sister Trish Dick and I experienced during a four-day retreat which combined dog sledding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing with prayer, silence, reflection and community building. What made this retreat so memorable?

I want to say, “It’s the dogs!” Imagine being greeted every morning by a chorus of 65 dogs howling not only for their breakfast, but for connection with us. We won’t easily forget: Lufa, Isis, Orion, Patches, Fennel, Samson, Daisy, Larry, all the dogs, and Wilbur, the everywhere-we-went-puppy.

They taught us what it means to be whole-hearted about what you were born for--in their case, pulling, running, connecting with each other and with us. They helped make us a community. Together, we raced over frozen lakes and bogs, through forests, up and down hills. Together, we fed and watered the dogs, cleaned the dog yard, and thanked them for their hard work. Together, we prayed, played, talked, laughed, and discovered the sheer goodness of each other. I’d do it again, in a minute!

submitted by Katherine Kraft, OSB


  1. I used to breed, train, groom and show dogs every weekend and sometimes for a week at a time, and I learned so much from them about God-ly things like compassion, forgiveness, love, patience, heart, courage. I would have loved this retreat! Thank you for sharing!

  2. I enjoyed the article and appreciated the difference. I am writing you from the Bahamas where it is about 83 degrees Fah. but I do remember the Minnesota winters while attending the College of ST. Benedict. Dogs are truly man's best friends and I could just imagine seeing a pack of 65 on the white snow.

    Continue to be kind to God's creatures.


    Valencia Wright Carroll '77

  3. What an amazing experience! It's a great lesson about God's calling us to be what He made us to be. Thanks so much for sharing.