A beautiful and heartwarming photograph of John Unger, and his 19-year-old dog, Schoep, has brought donations for an expensive medical treatment pouring in.
Unger and his then fiancé rescued Schoep from a humane society when he was just an 8-month-old puppy.
“We knew we wanted to work with an animal who was abused,” Unger said. “I just had a vision of working with an animal to bring out his full potential.”
Over the years, the Unger and Schoep have experienced the best and the worst of times together.
Schoep was quite nervous around Unger, as it was believed a male had abused the dog in the past. It took about eight months for Unger to earn Schoep’s trust.
When the relationship between Unger and his fiancé had a falling out, the pair shared custody of Schoep. Unger began caring for the dog full time a few years later when his former fiancé moved hours away to Colorado.
After the separation with his fiancé, Unger became very depressed, followed by thoughts of suicide. Unger made his way to a breakwater in Lake Michigan one night, thinking of taking his own life.
“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 ass.”
These days, the aging dog suffers from arthritis. Unger discovered that the warm waters of Lake Superior, near northern Wisconsin, have helped the dog to relax and fall asleep.
Knowing that the pair are reaching their final days together, Unger asked Bayfield, Wisconsin photographer, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, to capture the two as they relax in the lake together.
The photograph was taken on July 31st and has since been viewed over two million times on Facebook, in addition to being shared over 100 000 times. The popularity of the photograph has influenced many users to make donations to assist Unger in paying for an expensive laser treatment to help Schoep’s arthritis.