Schoep’s Dad Adopts a New Rescue Dog

“It was re-learning how to live and once I learned that and once I got through the toughness of his love that’s when I started searching again,” John said.



You might remember John Unger, the devoted dog dad whose love for his boy was captured by photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson in a snapshot that was seen around the world.  It has been over a year since Schoep passed, and now John has opened his heart to a new shelter dog.

A senior dog in his late teens, Schoep suffered from arthritis that made it difficult to walk, and even swim, which he loved.  So John tenderly held his beloved dog, often for hours, in the soothing waters of Lake Superior.  Sometimes Schoep was so relaxed that he’d fall asleep in his dad’s arms.


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“He was my life,” John said.

When Hannah’s beautiful photo surfaced online, the pair became instant celebrities amongst dog lovers, and their bond touched the hearts of everyone who read the story that went along with the photo.

John was battling depression 20 years ago when he came across Schoep in a shelter.

“He saved me that night and I could only do my very best for him after that,” John told USA Today.


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And he did.  He loved his dog til the very end, even celebrating Schoep’s 20th birthday.  It wasn’t long after that Schoep departed this world, leaving John with a gigantic hole in his heart.

“It was really tough after Schoep left, and [I] didn’t know what to do with my time,” he explained.

As the months passed, John thought about getting another dog, but nothing felt right.

“It was re-learning how to live and once I learned that and once I got through the toughness of his love that’s when I started searching again,” he said.

Several days ago, a handful of dogs were surrendered to the Northwoods Humane Society in Wyoming, Minnesota.  Year-old Bear was one of them.


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“It was just unison. It was just you know, in love from the moment they said hello to each other,” said shelter worker Kim Molitor.

It’s been less than a week now, and John and Bear are still getting to know one another, such as whether Bear prefers a stick or a ball.

Though it is difficult to move on from Schoep, John knows he has to take a chance on love.

“I talk to him still. Thank him for everything.”


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486 thoughts on “Schoep’s Dad Adopts a New Rescue Dog

  1. I had a very similar situation with my dog Sam, after 16 yrs I had to put him down & never thought I would be able to love another dog. But at the right time & place I believe a rescue dog needed me as much as I needed him. Sometimes I think Sam was looking down from above and put us together! There is always room in our hearts for love!

  2. This was such a beautiful story about total devotion and love between John and Shoep. And such a heartbreaking loss when Shoep crossed that Rainbow Bridge. I’m glad that John gave himself time to grieve. His new baby is one lucky dog.

  3. Very happy for you John. Several months ago, I was quite touched by your heart warming story. You and Schoep were the ultimate pair. Bonded together with such devotion and love.
    May you & your new family member be blessed with much joy & happiness. Hope you will have more posts to share. You are an inspiration.
    Warmest Regards ~*
    RIP sweet Schoep. ♡

  4. That’s an awesome story. However Bear should have been named Martini – for the white martini mark on his chest! 🙂

  5. lucky for both of you. I adopt 2 stray dogs 4 months after my girl left. It’s delightful to give them new life full of love and care.

  6. This story really made my night! I am so happy that John has opened his heart again. Bear is in very, very good hands.

  7. I’m so happy you found a new love…I lost my girl over a year ago and miss her with all my heart…..I do have a 3 yr old to love and love her but still miss my old girl with all my heart <3 <3

  8. I love this man so much..he deserves the very best life can offer. Keep post ing his story with his new dog please

  9. Jut a gorgeous story I hope Bear lives a long happy life like Shoep did. What a great man !! Why arent there more like him.

  10. Schoep is so happy that you are sharing your love with a new buddy! I will never forget you and Schoep, such love! Enjoy life!

  11. You are a truly amazing and caring man you where both lucky to find each other and now you can share that love a new boy that needs you

  12. So glad he’s found another to love! A Vet once said to me after I lost my sweet dog to cancer when I said that I didn’t think I could do it again, she said that if I didn’t get another one there would be one less dog to know a loving home.

  13. It’s difficult to open to love another…at first… And then you can’t imagine being without. I have learned to no longer have just one as it was harder to have no dog if something were to happen, there would always be another. We now have two and also foster two. Love them! I wish you much joy with your new fur boy!

  14. We honor the love of our departed dogs by rescuing another to love and care for. RIP Molly and thank you for sending me Gracie.

  15. Great guy, I just loved what he did for his dog and I am sure this one will live to be 20 at least!!! 🙂 🙂 A new live story is here…

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