This Vermont Chapel is a dog send in the rollicking hills of Vermont’s Green Mountains, stands a poignant tribute to one man’s love for dogs. Stephen Huneck, internationally acclaimed artist and sculptor, built his Dog Chapel several years ago after recovering from a serious illness, to celebrate the spiritual bond people have with their dogs. Modeled after a Vermont country church, circa 1820, the white clapboard chapel sits atop Dog Mountain, on Huneck’s farm in St. Johnsbury. The Dog Chapel’s motto, Welcome, All Creeds, All Breeds. No Dogmas Allowed, invites everyone to share in this special place.
The Dog Chapel and its surrounding area serves as both a gallery for Huneck’s work and a spiritual retreat. Inside the chapel, wooden dog sculptures greet guests. Hand carved black Labrador and Golden retriever pews provide comfortable seating for reflection. Charming and inspirational dog woodcut prints hang on the walls and Huneck’s beautiful stained glass windows immerse the chapel in a spectrum of colored light. The Remembrance Wall, covered with poems and photographs of lost pets, is a place where visitors may honor their treasured friends (of all species). Gwen Huneck, Stephen’s, wife says, “People appreciate this. It gives them a way to grieve for their pets.”
Outside the chapel, a sculpture garden with a generous array of plantings offers a gentle setting for meditation. Guests are encouraged to bring their dogs and walk the nature trails and forests that surround the chapel. Breathtaking views of the Vermont countryside are everywhere and the mountaintop is rich with wildlife and trout farms. Looking up at the chapel, one sees a winged Labrador atop the steeple. “The steeple points up to heaven,” says Huneck, “and the winged Labrador turns in the wind and proclaims that this place has a special affinity with dogs.”
Huneck was so inspired by the this sacred place that he has also created a book about it. Released this November, The Dog Chapel, published by Harry N. Abrams, acquaints the reader with Huneck’s Dog Chapel, as well as many of his unique woodcut prints. The book, which contains color photographs of the Dog Chapel and over thirty of Huneck’s woodcut prints, respectfully captures the essence of this extraordinary place and of Huneck’s exceptional work. Along with The Dog Chapel, Huneck has written three children’s books about dogs. He has also had his artwork displayed in museums around the world.
Huneck calls the chapel “the largest artwork of my life, and my most personal.” On a mountaintop in Vermont, Stephen Huneck has truly created a chapel of love.
For more information about the Dog Chapel, please visit www.dogchapel.com.