If you ever have plans to travel to the US state of Vermont, be prepared for a tug on the old heartstrings. The rolling hills are heaven-inspired and arguably so is the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. But there’s something truly unique about Vermont. Nestled in the scenic hills of northern Vermont lies a place unlike any other: Dog Mountain.
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This 150-acre haven is more than just a dog park; it’s a sanctuary for furry friends and their human companions, a place to celebrate the unique bond that a person can share with their pet even when they have sadly passed on.
A Story of Love and Loss
Dog Mountain’s story began in 1994 with artist Stephen Huneck. After a near-death experience, Stephen credited his dogs with helping him through his recovery. In gratitude, he envisioned a place where dogs and their humans could connect, heal, and celebrate their love. Thus, Dog Mountain was born.
Stephen, a freelancer turned entrepreneur was a self-taught sculptor. He started out as an antique furniture picker. Through that experience, he said, “I learned so much about good design and how to build furniture that lasts forever.”
The Heart of Dog Mountain: The Dog Chapel
The centrepiece of Dog Mountain is the stunning Dog Chapel. This non-denominational chapel welcomes visitors of all faiths (and furry friends!) to reflect, remember, and celebrate the lives of their beloved dogs. With carved dogs adorning every surface, from the pews to the steeple, the chapel exudes a warmth and love that resonates with every visitor.
Each year, the Dog Chapel beckons thousands from across the globe. Stepping inside, your gaze is met by a spectacle of love. Floor to ceiling, the walls bloom with photos, drawings, letters, and mementos – poignant memorials to departed furry companions.
Yet, this is no place of sombre mourning. Gentle humour dances among the heartfelt tributes, whispering playful wags and joyful moments. The very air vibrates with an unspoken love, a testament to the profound bond between humans and animals.
Artist Stephen Huneck created the one-of-a-kind Dog Chapel to be, in his words, “A place where people can go and celebrate the spiritual bond they have with their dogs. It is the largest artwork of my life and the most personal.”
Stephen Huneck described the Dog Chapel experience this way:
When you visit the Dog Chapel you are totally enveloped with messages of love. It is a very moving experience — sad, certainly, but also uplifting — to see how much everyone cherishes his or her dog. 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.
Whether you’ve walked alongside a four-legged friend or simply cherish the connection, the Dog Chapel offers a unique and moving experience. It’s a sanctuary of quiet beauty, a reminder of the joy our pets bring, and a celebration of the love that transcends lifetimes.
More Than Just a Chapel
Beyond the chapel, Dog Mountain offers a variety of activities for dogs and their humans to enjoy. Leash-free trails wind through the picturesque Vermont countryside, inviting dogs to explore, sniff, and run to their hearts’ content. A swimming pond provides a refreshing dip on hot days, while art exhibits and dog-themed events add to the unique atmosphere.
A Place of Healing and Connection
Dog Mountain is more than just a fun place to take your dog for a day trip. It’s a place of healing and connection, where visitors can find solace in shared experiences of love and loss. Whether you’re grieving the loss of a furry friend or simply seeking a place to celebrate the joy of dogs, Dog Mountain offers a warm embrace and a sense of community.
Planning Your Pup-Themed Pilgrimage
Dog Mountain is open year-round, with special events and festivals held throughout the year. If you’re planning a trip, be sure to check the website for current hours, admission fees, and event information. The gallery and dog chapel are open from Friday to Sunday but closed during the week. Please check for seasonal hours on their Dog Mountain contact page along with nearby accommodation.