Bring Your Pooch to Play in Vermont’s Slice of Dog Paradise
Dog Mountain is a unique dog park nestled in Northeast Vermont known for its ample space for pets to play, as well hosting the only Dog Chapel in the country. Though it used to be a 150-acre farm, Dog Mountain is ranked as the number one dog park in the U.S. From hiking trails to agility courses to pooch ponds, there’s no shortage of activities for dogs and their humans to enjoy.
Dog Mountain Memoir
Set on top of a private mountain, Dog Mountain was originally a working farm. Purchased in 1995 by Stephen and Gwen Huneck, the couple turned the farm’s barn into a studio space. Soon after, the Dog Chapel opened for visitors in 2000. Inside the chapel are traditional church pews (shaped like lovable pooches), stained glass windows featuring dogs, and, throughout the entire chapel, notes about and pictures of pets who have passed are left to pay tribute to their lives. If you visit, be sure to bring some tissues as the memoirs of dogs now in the great dog park in the sky are sure to bring a tear to your eye.
Huneck turned his studio space into a dog gallery, featuring his playful depictions of different dog breeds. The park and its amenities are open year-round for all breeds.
Now operated and maintained by Friends of Dog Mountain, a non-profit organization established in 2015 by friends and family of the late Stephen and Gwen Huneck, Dog Mountain lives on to spread puppy love. Their mission is to protect and preserve this national treasure that honors the healing power of dogs, nature, love, and art.
Vermont’s Affinity for Pets
Is it any surprise that the country’s first and only dog chapel is in Vermont? We not only rank as one of the top states for pets, but we also rank as one of the states with the highest percentages of households that own a pet, coming in at a whopping 70%. Vermont does an amazing job of supporting its pet community, providing pet owners with ample amenities to pamper their four-legged friends. The state has close to 20 dog parks sprinkled from north to south. On top of its dedicated dog parks, Vermont has a dozen state parks that are welcome to all pets year round. Clearly, the Green Mountain State is a pet’s paradise with ample green space ready to provide all the smells a pooch can sniff.
Pets and Real Estate
Why chase your tail with all of this doggone pet knowledge? Simply put, pet ownership can have a tremendous influence on homebuying decisions according to a recent research study from the National Association of REALTORS®, which found that 43% of U.S. households would be willing to move or change their living situation to accommodate their pet.
“A home purchase can be one of the largest a household makes,” the study says. “A number of factors must be considered throughout the home buying and selling process, including all members of the household, even pets.”
Good schools, an easy commute, and low taxes are common amenities that homebuyers look for in a community. However, dog parks are another feature that pet-loving clients may start to consider just as critical.
Ralph McLaughlin, the former chief economist with Trulia, told MarketWatch in an interview, “With dog ownership on the rise in the U.S., it shouldn’t come as a surprise that home builders and local governments are increasingly providing dog parks for their residents. Dog parks may also play a role in helping sustain relative value in neighborhoods with them compared to those without.”
There are now 774 dog parks in the 100 biggest metro areas across the nation, a nearly 5% increase from last year and up 40% since 2009 — which is great news for agents. Cities with the highest density of dog parks are also some of the most dynamic real estate markets in the country and are often found in the top 50 lists for highest home price increases, with home prices appreciating faster than the national average. Clients are drawn to these cities at least in part because they are dog-friendly and offer a community that supports pets. Between the lush, natural landscape and the plethora of canine-friendly digs, it’s no wonder that so many heed the call of the wild and choose Vermont as their forever home.