Welcome to Dog Mountain. This beautiful 150-acre piece of land in Vermont is home to one of the most unique chapels in the world. It’s the brainchild of artist Stephen Huneck who believes that a love for dogs is one of the strongest bonds all humans share. Huneck wants Dog Mountain to be a place where people from around the world come to pay respects to the dogs they’ve lost and join in a community of fellow dog lovers.
The large property, which is covered beautifully in forests and trails, is open around the clock to dogs and their owners. Dogs are strongly encouraged to be left off a leash and roam the place freely, making this a true doggy paradise.
Stephen Huneck bought this beautiful piece of land 20 years ago and lived in a converted barn along with his wife, Gwen.
Not everything went as planned for the couple though. Just before moving into their new home, Stephen became stricken with adult respiratory distress syndrome. This resulted with Stephen being in a coma for two months. Afterwards, he attempted to get back to his art by creating woodcut prints of his dog, Sally.
A few years later, Stephen built Dog Chapel. It is the centerpiece of the property and he still considers it to be his artistic masterpiece.
Dog Chapel isn’t associated with any religion, but instead is open to any and all people who are looking for a quiet place to remember and memorialize dogs that have passed on.
The process of building the chapel inspired Stephen so much that he wrote and illustrated ten books, all of which he dedicated to his dog Sally.
Plastered on the walls of the chapel are photos and notes from owners to their lost but-not-forgotten pets.
According to the Dog Mountain website: “Grieving for a lost dog is one aspect of the Dog Chapel, but equally important is celebrating the joy of living and the bond between dogs and their owners.”
One Dog Mountain employee says “So many red, teary-eyed people have told me how much being in the chapel has helped them let it all out and find comfort in all the love notes and expressions of love that cover the chapel walls.”
Dog Mountain survives solely on donations and sales of Stephen’s art.
In 2010, Stephen passed away. Three years later, his wife Gwen passed away as well.
Today, Dog Mountain is run by Amanda McDermott and Jill Brown. They have revitalized the park since the Hunecks’ passing and work every day to keep their dream alive.