19 year old Schoep is cradled in his father's arms in Lake Superior. Schoep falls asleep every night when he is carried into the lake.
John Unger often wades in the waters of Lake Superior, cradling his sick dog Schoep to help ease its arthritis pain. The touching photo of the sick 19-year-old dog and his best friend have attracted millions of views online and likely more than a tear or two from dog lovers. Schoep is named after a popular Wisconsin ice cream shop.
The phrase "man's best friend" may have never been more true. John Unger adopted Schoep when the the shepherd mix was just a tiny bundle of fur. The pair of life-long companions go to Lake Superior most evenings so Schoep can have the chance to rest free from arthritis pain. Schoep has difficulty sleeping, so John Unger and his best pal routinely travel to nearby Lake Superior to get in the water together. The movement of the water soothes the the sweet old dog, lulling him to sleep, Radar Online notes.
John Unger and his former fiance found Schoep at the Ozaukee County Wisconsin Humane Society where he had been abandoned and showed signs of being beaten. While Unger's relationship with his fiance did not last, the one with dog thrived. Unger credits Schoep with his recovery from a severe depression after the break-up that prompted him to consider suicide.
"To be honest with you, I don't think I’d be here if I didn't have Schoep with me that night. He just snapped me out of it. I don't know how to explain it. He just snapped me out of it. I just want to do whatever I can for this dog because he basically saved my a**," John Unger told the Duluth Tribune.
Hannah Stonehouse Hudson captured the now famous photo of Unger cradling Schoep in the water on Lake Superior. Hudson stated during an interview with the Huffington Post that the image of the man cradling his sleeping dog in the water is in no way staged.
"This is in no way posed. I hate posed photos. They never ever capture the true essence of anything," the Stonehouse Photography owner stated during the interview.
John was grateful for the photographer's help capturing what he feared might be the final Lake Superior soak with Scheop. Unger was faced with the possibility of putting Schoep down to end his constant pain if the medication he was taking did not start to help his arthritis condition. Thanks to the growing popularity of the photo of Unger cradling his sleeping dog in the lake, donations have poured in to help pay for arthritis laser treatments for Schoep.