A picture of a man floating in the water with his sleeping dog has gone viral. And the story behind it has touched millions of hearts everywhere. John Unger says his 19-year-old dog Schoep, which he rescued as an 8 month old puppy, saved his life. Unger told the Duluth News Tribune that after splitting from his fiance several years ago, he began having suicidal thoughts. “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.” And now he is doing everything in his power to make Schoep’s twilight years as comfortable as possible. Schoep suffers from arthritis and hip dysplasia, which causes pain John eases through floating in Lake Superior each evening where the water is warm this time of year. Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, who captured the now-viral photo of the two, explains “Shep falls asleep every night when he is carried into the lake. The buoyancy of the water soothes his arthritic bones.” The popularity of Hudson’s photo has sparked a wave of donations to help pay for laser treatment for Schoep’s arthritis, and Hannah, who is selling prints of the photo, “John & Schoep,” on her website, says she’ll donate a percentage of the sales to help pay for Schoep’s veterinarian bills. Photo by Stonehouse Photography
| Aug. 12, 2012 at 8:36 a.m.