Friday, August 9, 2013


Cecelia and Etta in front of The Dog Chapel art installation
 Dearest Readers,
This week my pastoral and spiritual journeys led me to The Dog Chapel, located within the art complex known appropriately as Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. 
 St. J, population about 7,000, is a half-hour drive from my place in Peacham. It’s where I buy groceries, get gas and visited a vet for Etta. Now I know it’s a place to celebrate doghood, pray for the repose of the souls of deceased pooches, train dogs, have dog parties and buy folk art-ish prints, sculptures and funny dog themed furniture. 
Etta & Cecelia at the altar with dog sculptures, dog window, notes & photos of deceased dogs pinned to the wall

Buttercup and Etta in church with two dog lovers seated on a pew
Dogs can roam free everywhere–in church, along dog trails and even in the dog gallery and gift shop. “ Dogma” is the only thing you leave at the door. There are exercise trails, assemblages for dog agility climbing, and a pond for retrievers.  
Retriever pond with dog sculpture on climbing apparatus on far right
Etta inside the Dog Gallery off-leash of course
Stephen Huneck near the Dog Chapel, St. Johnsbury, VT
  Stephen Huneck, 1948-2010, local artist, children’s book author, businessman and creator of Dog Mountain once said that the Chapel “…is the largest artwork of my life and the most personal”.  The place is both endearing and funny. The Chapel is kind of Christian with dog-themed Tibetan prayer flags hung outside.
Etta outside the Chapel near strings of doggie prayer flags
Dog Memorial Colonnade
 Dog Mtn. is both a song of praise to dogdom, and a childlike pretend game. There’s a framed declaration inside the chapel “Dogs Have Souls”, probably to contravene a teaching I remember in religion class, that they don’t. Huneck went to Catholic school as a kid. So did I. 

1 comment:

  1. Dear See See, I just want to say thank you for the adventures that you take me on through your blogging. Your photos and notes on the places you visit enlarge me in some important way.

    What a fascinating place Dog Mountain is! How marvelous that Dog Church is simultaneously art and a viable place to mourn pets that have died. I'm struck by the fact that the creator of this dog church has died and is memorialized through his creative work.