...NO DOGMA'S ALLOWED.
Steve Huneck is an artist with a great love for his dogs so it was only natural that he would portray their antics in his whimsical art. The first picture that I saw, about 3 years ago, was “Life Is a Ball” and I loved the simplicity and the upbeat message.
When I visited my niece in St. Johnsbury, Vt. she told me that his studio, gallery and DOG CHAPEL were nearby so I couldn’t wait to visit and I wasn’t disappointed. It is located on 400 open, pasture-like acres aptly named “Dog Mountain”. Visitors are encouraged to bring their dogs and there are even three dog ponds for their pleasure!
The gallery is a delight. There are many pictures for sale but also children‘s books...written and illustrated by the artist...specialty items and, most fascinating of all...FURNITURE.
The highlight of our visit, for me anyway, was the DOG CHAPEL. Mr Huneck built the chapel after he had a near death experience and he considers it “the largest artwork of my life and most personal”. Visitors are encouraged to celebrate the lives of the pets that they have lost and I was amazed to see that the walls of the two large rooms that comprise the chapel were completely covered with bits of paper and photographs. Here’s an example:
(If you can’t read it, it says: “Bailey, you never bit or made me cry. I miss you everyday and know you’ll never be replaced in my heart. Why did you attack Daddy?”)
I don’t know about you but I want to know the particulars. Did Bailey die of natural causes or was the attack on “Daddy” responsible for an early death? Did “Daddy” provoke Bailey? Is the writer of the note a youngster and should he be wary of “Daddy“, too? Was Bailey accepted into “Doggie Heaven” or is he wandering in “limbo” because of his aggressive behavior? Has he repented or was it never his fault to begin with?????
Oh, it’s all too mind boggling to contemplate. Doggie-saint or Doggie-sinner … what does it matter? A beloved pet is gone and his owner has left a farewell message tacked to the walls of the “Dog Chapel”. Not closure exactly but certainly a comfort.
The sign in front of the Chapel summed it up for me...and I couldn’t help but think that it would be a different world if more churches would adhere to it. It reads:
“ALL CREEDS, ALL BREEDS, NO DOGMA'S ALLOWED"