Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dog Mountain

The Dog Chapel. Photo by
Donna Hailson.
In Episode 6 of ON THE ROAD WITH MAC AND MOLLY, we visit Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

On this site, artist and author Stephen Huneck built his Dog Chapel, styled in the manner of a 19th century village church. In the book, The Dog Chapel, Stephen noted that he intended the building and the property on which it sits, to be a place for the celebration of the "spiritual bond" folks have with their dogs. His vision was to create "a place that would be open to all dogs and to people of any faith or belief system."
At the entrance to Dog Mountain.
Photo by Donna Hailson.
Though I'm not in agreement with all that was his theology, I resonate with Stephen's desire to honor the human-pet bond and I appreciate his whimsical renderings of life with canine friends.

I'm sad to note that Stephen, despairing over the downturn in the economy and fearing the impact it might have on Dog Mountain, took his own life about a year ago. The entrance to the chapel is now a hall of remembrance for him. The walls of the inner chapel are covered with appreciations of and memorials to human-pet relationships.

Stephen's artwork is everywhere in the chapel: in the stained glass windows, in the hooked rugs and in the pews, the ends of which boast delightful carvings of dogs. Dogs and their humans are invited to enjoy the space and can then run free on the surrounding trails or in the dog ponds or on the agility course.

On the day of our visit, at least a dozen dogs (including our own Mac and Molly) romped - with what looked like something exceeding joy - as the snow was lightly falling on the already snow-covered, very steep incline. It was a bit of tough going for bipeds but the quadrupeds managed it all with ease.

A gallery, featuring Stephen's books, woodcut prints, sculptures, furniture and other Huneck-designed items (from dog neckerchiefs to bowls, notecards, mugs and rugs) sits a few yards from the chapel.

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