In St. Johnsbury, Vermont, there’s an amazing 150 acre sanctuary for dogs and their humans called Dog Mountain, which features a place so unique in its loveliness, words cannot do it justice.
It’s called Dog Chapel, created by the late artist Stephen Huneck to serve as a place for people to grieve and even leave messages for their departed dogs. His widow, Gwen, now maintains the entire property, which is free and open to the public.
As soon as I found out about Dog Chapel, I knew I had to go and leave a message for the friends we lost in the fire, and for other Alta-Tollhaus dogs I felt a close connection with. So this morning, I got Batman in the car, bright and early, and we headed to the Chapel.
Below are the tributes I left for Alta-Tollhaus Maika, Allie, Heike, Verdae, Ivan and Odin. I will do a separate post on the adventures Batman and I had on Dog Mountain — this one is dedicated to remembering our lost friends.
I placed their photos around this stained glass window featuring a dog playing in the water because all A-T dogs love the water. There’s even a yellow ball in the window — perfect!
I put Maika and Odin together because Odin was Maika’s son. Also, he was just a puppy when he died, and I thought he might want to be near his mom.
Message to Maika:
Party Girl, the standard-bearer, the model,
Charming and loving and sweet,
We can’t believe you are gone,
And we will never forget you.
Message to Odin, Josie’s Perfect Puppy:
Dear Odin, you are so loved and will never be forgotten. You live forever in your momma’s heart. You don’t have to worry because Koda has come to take care of your boy, and to bring laughter back into your home. Run and dig free at the bridge, sweet puppy!
Message to Allie:
You were our favorite comedian, the class clown,
Mother of escape artists and goofballs,
The most expressive of faces, the sweetest of souls,
We see you unlatching gates at the bridge,
Your spirit lives on — whenever we laugh in good humor rather than sigh in exasperation,
That is your spirit lifting us.
I placed Ivan next to a heroic police dog named Mica that died of Lymphoma because Ivan was a hero dog to so many of us, and he was also a member of a police family.
In loving memory of Jack and Lynda’s Ivan, handsome champion, hero dog, and role model.
Finally, I said goodbye to all our friends that died in the fire. Rest in peace, sweet souls.