Stephen Huneck is an artist whose dog paintings and sculptures are showcased in the Smithsonian Institution. He conceived the idea of the chapel after his near-death in 1995 from adult respiratory distress syndrome, a condition that left him in a coma for nearly two months.
During his long recovery, he says he received a message out of nowhere telling him to build a dog chapel.
"I thought I was going crazy," he says. "I didn't have the time or the money to do something like this. But I kept hearing the words, 'build a dog chapel.' It wouldn't let go. I knew I had to do it. I became obsessed with the idea."
Since its opening in 2000, more than 100,000 pet owners have visited the chapel and paid their respects to the dogs (and a few cats) that were important in their lives.
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