Dog Mountain, home of the world’s only dog chapel, is situated three miles from downtown St. Johnsbury, in Vermont. Though the chapel is petite, it is visited by people all over the world and is complete with pews and stained glass. Perched on a hill amid 150 rolling acres, the chapel is just one part of a property designed with dogs in mind and is free and open to the public. It’s fully appointed with hiking trails, a pond, an dog agility course and one of the last remaining galleries of Stephen Huneck’s humorous, colorful, dog -oriented art.
Huneck– the rugged, mustachioed creator of the chapel, the art, and a thousand details decorating the property, from the pug-faced columns to the prayer flags printed with angel- Labradors– was inspired to build the Dog Chapel with his collaborator and wife, Gwen Huneck in the late 1990s. Free and open to the public since Memorial Day 2000, its walls have become covered with heartfelt, handwritten messages and photographs of beloved pets that have gone to dog heaven.
The Dog Chapel, a sanctuary for grief, remembrance and celebration of lost companions, is now, by extension, a memorial to the chapel’s creators as well. Tragically in early January 2010, distressed by financial worries that necessitated staff layoffs, Mr. Huneck, 61, took his life. In July 2011 and his wife Gwen took her life in 2013. A tragic end to a wonderful vision, however their legacy lives on with dog lovers worldwide.
In 2015, the non-profit organization Friends of Dog Mountain (FODM), was established by family and friends of Stephen and Gwen Huneck. As of late 2017, FODM became the owner and manager of Dog Mountain.