Heartwarming Photograph Brings Donations Flooding in For Dog’s Treatment

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This photograph of Unger and his dog, Schoep, has brought in donations to help pay for Schoep's treatment.


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.

20 thoughts on “Heartwarming Photograph Brings Donations Flooding in For Dog’s Treatment”

  1. I’d like more info on this laser treatment.
    My 11 year old boy Sam is suffering from arthritis in his knee
    and is rapidly becoming a 3 legged dog.
    He’s a trooper and doesn’t complain but I know he is in pain.
    He was there for me when I needed him and I’d dearly love to help him now.

    Google my name,dog and bear to see how he helped me.

  2. At 19 that dog has lived a very long life. I’m sympathetic to his pain but I have 14 year old lab, Taylor, with arthritis and Masticatory myositis. I’m spending all I can to make her last few months comfortable. She was also my best friend as I went through a divorce. Every day I’m thankful for another day with her but I worry about her pain level. I hope the laser treatment helps Schoep. {{Hugs}}

  3. I was diagnosted with Arthritis in my legs , tried a product called Zija and it took all the pain away. I realize that these are animals we are talking about, this will help animals to.

  4. I’m using Seanol for my knees and it helps a lot. Don’t know if it works on animals but if it’s arthritis I don’t see why not. Plus it’s a natural supplement, not a toxic chemical. But when it’s arthritis and it’s your dog, whatever works.

  5. Two species with the same condition do not always react the same way to a medication. Dogs and people do not metabolize all drugs the same way. Do not give Seanol or any other medication to your dog without checking with your vet. Even a natural supplement can have side effects or interact with other medications. It might work or not, just check first. You don’t want to help your dog’s arthitis at the expense of his liver or kidneys.

  6. We had to bid farewell to our wonderful lab/shep , Ulyssees a few years ago. He had no hip (s) left. He was falling down and his spine was fusing. We still miss him , and our grand daughter still cries when ever thoughts of him come up in her mind, he was HER first dog. Suicide is final. I am so glad that Schoep was there for Unger. So, very glad.

  7. That is a most beautiful shot. Somehow manages to show the great love John has for his dog as well as Schoep’s complete trust in his arms. It’s a picture worth looking at every single day.


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