Shelley Mamott, Staff Writer
A touching and heartfelt photograph of John Unger, a Wisconsin resident, and his 19-year-old dog, Schoep. What is clear from this picture is that to John Unger, his dog, Schoep, means everything.
Unger and his then fiancé adopted Schoep when he was just an 8-month-old puppy and the two have been together ever since. At first Schoep was nervous around Unger, as it was thought that Schoep was abused by a male in the past. It took about eight months for Unger to really earn Schoep’s trust. Over the years the two have been through a lot together.
Now, at 19 years old, Schoep has arthritis and Unger found that the warm waters of Lake Superior is soothing for Schoeps aching body, so he takes him into lake and lulls him to sleep.
This wonderful photograph taken on July 31st was captured by Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, of Bayfield, Wis., owner of Stonehouse Photography and a friend of Unger’s.
“I had about 5 minutes to shoot and this is what I caught – a man and his dog. John loving his Schoep, and Schoep trusting John so much he falls asleep in the buoyancy of the water,” Stonehouse Hudson said.
The photographer posted the photo on her facebook page where she described the pair’s loving relationship.
“This is 19 year old Shep being cradled in his father’s arms last night in Lake Superior,” she said. “Shep falls asleep every night when he is carried into the lake. The buoyancy of the water soothes his arthritic bones. Lake Superior is very warm right now, so the temp of the water is perfect. I was so happy I got to capture this moment for John. By the way, John rescued Shep as an 8 month old puppy, and he’s been by his side through many adventures.”
Currently the photo has been viewed on facebook more than 225,000 times and shared more than 131,000 times. Because of it’s popularity, it has influenced many to make donations to help Unger pay for treatment to help Schoep’s arthritis.