Dogs Yes; Dogmas No
If you are a dog lover, particularly one who is living in Vermont, you may have been lucky enough to come across the art and writing of Stephen Huneck, known for his children's book series that stars his dog Sally. He is also known for creating the dog chapel, a chapel dedicated to that special relationship that we have with our four-legged canine friends. Like many buildings that serve a spiritual purpose, there is a sign outside this chapel in St. Johnsbury, VT that states the philosophy of this institution. "Welcome all creeds. All Breeds. No Dogmas allowed."
In addition to Huneck's children's book series about Sally, he has written a book about the dog chapel that he created. Since my mom is a Unitarian minister, I thought this would be a perfect gift for her last Mother's Day. During her annual "blessing of the animals" service at her church, she used Huneck's work to illustrate the important role that our furry friends play in our lives, as well as the lessons we can learn from our pooches and other non-human companions. Here is an excerpt from her sermon entitled "A Place for Everyone".
It’s like those words printed at the top of our order of service:
“Welcome all creeds. All breeds. No dogmas allowed.” Dogs, yes; dogmas, no.
So let’s be good to our non-human friends as well as our human friends. Let’s show to each other and to them that we’ve learned a few things about love and play and trust from them.
As you might guess, I have both human and non-human friends. Here are some pictures of them doing tricks together. The human in the picture is Robb and the dog in the picture is Ella. Both have taught me a lot about love, play, and trust.These pictures were taken during a recent walk in Montpelier's Hubbard Park when Ella made several important discoveries including the fascinating fact that snow is actually just frozen water which means that a snowy mountain is essentially just a big frozen dog bowl. Another discovery is that there are animals, such as her, that can defy gravity. These pictures are not doctored.