New Doc About 'Dog Mountain': Where People Can Remember Departed Pets
The new radio documentary “Dog Mountain: A Love Story,” follows the story of Vermont artists Stephen and Gwen Huneck and their dream of building a dog chapel.
The Hunecks were married for over 35 years. They didn’t have any kids, but they had plenty of dogs. When Stephen was in his mid-30s, he taught himself how to carve wood, and, naturally, dogs were his source of inspiration. Over time, he dreamed of building a chapel for dogs in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
The dream came true, but not without financial strife. Over three years, they built Dog Mountain, on 150 mountaintop acres. The couple hoped that Dog Mountain would be a place of where dog owners could come and enjoy time with their pets as well as a place where those whose dogs had died could find some comfort. The chapel was as much a testament to dogs as it was to Stephen’s artwork.
Stephen “said that the dog chapel was his largest and most personal artwork. And it really is — it’s a masterwork,” John Ide, Gwen’s brother, says.
Thousands of notes, cards and photos tributing deceased pets also line the walls of the chapel.
Unfortunately, the couple fell on hard financial times in 2008, which resulted in Stephen taking his own life. Gwen struggled to keep the chapel afloat, but she died in 2013. Now, Ide runs the chapel and considers it “almost like a point of honor to do what we can to help Dog Mountain survive.” He adds that the place continues to be “the source of enormous healing and joy.”
You can also listen to a longer version, here.
Photo: Dog Mountain