Schoep, German Shepherd Featured in Heartwarming Viral Photo, Dies at 20

Henry Baker
July 19, 2013

Schoep and his owner, John Unger, got famous thanks to a photo. Now Unger is posting what may be his final recollection of his beloved dog. Yesterday, he posted on his Facebook page, "I breathe but I can't catch my breath. Schoep passed yesterday."

They became famous last August when a photo taken by a friend, photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, become a true viral success on Facebook. The photo depicts man and dog embracing while bathing in Lake Superior in Wisconsin. The touching nature of the photo was backed up by an even more wonderful story. Schoep had been developing advancing arthritis in his old age and had trouble sleeping and standing up. A veterinarian suggested that Unger bring Schoep into the waters of the lake because they might soothe his painful condition. Sure enough, the trick worked, and the dog was having a better time getting around. Each night, Unger brought Schoep into the water to help his pet sleep.

Unger still needed money for medical care, funds that Schoep's new fans were more than happy to donate. Over $25,000 was raised to help with the dog's medical care. Knowing that this would be too much for one dog, Unger formed a charity to give money to other dogs who needed care.

The post concerning Schoep's death has already received over 33,000 likes on Facebook, with many people offering Unger condolences. According to Stonehouse Hudson, the two were inseparable, so Unger is likely grieving. Still, as one commenter on Facebook put it, "I believe he had the best life a dog can have."

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