Dog Chapel In Vermont Honors Bond Between Dogs and Humans
Late artist and children’s author Stephen Huneck’s life literally centered around dogs. He and his wife Gwen, who passed in 2013, lived just down the road from Dog Mountain–a 150 acre-mountaintop paradise of fields, ponds, and trails that is a sanctuary for dogs and people alike. Huneck wrote over 10 books about his black Labrador Retriever, Sally, and his home was adorned with art and decor dedicated to dogs. The family also included a black lab named Daisy, and a Golden Retriever named Molly.
In 1994, Huneck suffered from a life-threatening bout of Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome after falling down a flight of stairs. Doctors did not expect him to recover, but after he did, Huneck was inspired to create what he called his largest and most personal artwork: Dog Chapel.
Huneck envisioned Dog Chapel to be a place where people could celebrate the bonds they have with their dogs, and one step inside dog chapel clearly shows his belief in the importance of that bond. An “All Creatures Are Welcome” sign welcomes visitors, and Huneck carved the ends of the the wooden pews into the shapes of sitting dogs.
The gorgeous stained glass windows allow light to come in, and visitors can see the the walls covered with post-it notes and photos left by visitors honoring the memory of their dogs who’ve crossed the rainbow bridge.
A carved statue of Sally wearing wings is centered in the chapel, surrounded by personal messages from visitors from all around the world. Huneck’s vision clearly highlights the special relationship between humans and their dogs.
Dog Chapel on Dog Mountain still stands and is open to the public–dogs and people can come together and connect with nature and each other. Even though Huneck is no longer with us, he arranged that there’d always be treats available, a small thank you to dogs for all they give us.
Huneck wanted people who visit Dog Chapel to be wrapped in messages of love. Looking at all beautiful sentiments left behind for the beloved dogs of so many, his mission was clearly accomplished.
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