Posted in: Animal News

Man Cradles His Sick 19-Year-Old Dog In Lake Superior To Help Ease Its Arthritis Pain

Dog Swims In Water For Therapy with owner

John Unger often wades in the waters of Lake Superior, cradling his sick dog Schoep to help ease its arthritis pain. The touching photo of the sick 19-year-old dog and his best friend have attracted millions of views online and likely more than a tear or two from dog lovers. Schoep is named after a popular Wisconsin ice cream shop.

The phrase “man’s best friend” may have never been more true. John Unger adopted Schoep when the the shepherd mix was just a tiny bundle of fur. The pair of life-long companions go to Lake Superior most evenings so Schoep can have the chance to rest free from arthritis pain. Schoep has difficulty sleeping, so John Unger and his best pal routinely travel to nearby Lake Superior to get in the water together. The movement of the water soothes the the sweet old dog, lulling him to sleep, Radar Online notes.

John Unger and his former fiance found Schoep at the Ozaukee County Wisconsin Humane Society where he had been abandoned and showed signs of being beaten. While Unger’s relationship with his fiance did not last, the one with dog thrived. Unger credits Schoep with his recovery from a severe depression after the break-up that prompted him to consider suicide.

“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 a**,” John Unger told the Duluth Tribune.

Hannah Stonehouse Hudson captured the now famous photo of Unger cradling Schoep in the water on Lake Superior. Hudson stated during an interview with the Huffington Post that the image of the man cradling his sleeping dog in the water is in no way staged.

“This is in no way posed. I hate posed photos. They never ever capture the true essence of anything,” the Stonehouse Photography owner stated during the interview.

John was grateful for the photographer’s help capturing what he feared might be the final Lake Superior soak with Scheop. Unger was faced with the possibility of putting Schoep down to end his constant pain if the medication he was taking did not start to help his arthritis condition. Thanks to the growing popularity of the photo of Unger cradling his sleeping dog in the lake, donations have poured in to help pay for arthritis laser treatments for Schoep.

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19 Responses to “Man Cradles His Sick 19-Year-Old Dog In Lake Superior To Help Ease Its Arthritis Pain”

  1. Lena Boylan-Rosio

    I cried reading this because my baby boy Cujo suffered from arthritis, even on meds it got so bad he could no longer walk. My husband and I were faced with the hardest decision we've ever made, to end our baby's suffering. That was 7 month ago and I still can't think about him without bawling my eyes out in heartbreak. This man is amazing, someone I can truly look up to. With all my heart, I hope the meds help!

  2. Lena Boylan-Rosio

    Forgot to mention my Cujo was 16 and lived a very full happy life. He was also abused as a puppy, my husband found him and gave him the home he deserved. I was honored to become Cujo's mommy 5yrs ago

  3. Sandy Kelly

    I love people who actually take the time to care for their babies as much as they care for you! This is a beautiful story!

  4. Delores Starr

    I think that is so cool what he is doing for his dog. I am so proud of this man for doing what he is doing.
    i think I would do the same for my 4 dogs.

  5. Sandra Renee Adams

    awwwh that's a beautiful story! I cried while reading this because I have a dog that I love very much. He is family and family takes care of each other.

  6. Michelle Clark

    How awesome is this! *sniffle, tear*
    My 15 year old mutt is starting to get a little creaky, and it breaks my heart. I live only 40 miles from the beach…if I can get my dog in the water, I'll do the same if it makes him feel better. I wonder if the bathtub will be good enough in the wintertime?

  7. Sofia Mogliazzi

    In some way Schoep has come to embody a period of Mr Unger’s life that he treasures and is loathe to give up, he after all arrived in his life in the place of another who he had high hopes for and now Mr Unger like many of us in life faces the stark reality that his best friend, close confidant, symbol and abiding companion to his hell and back and all the other pleasures might no longer be there. Who will be there will be Mr Unger all by himself. A situation, a thought no one can barely ever admit to or desire.

  8. Eric Olson

    I don't know how many of you have ever swam in Superior but it is literally FREEZING. I'm a lifelong Minnesotan and have been to Duluth many times with family that way. The coldest lake I've ever swam in. I suppose it's soothing for the pooch though and his joints, especially. This man will be devastated to lose this cool dog. God bless.

  9. Robert Jones

    I had a sheperd mix cpmpanion for almost 16 yrs and she reached the point even with medication she could no longer stand or walk on her own had to put to rest in 2007 I still miss her she also came from the humane society shelter when I asked her if she was ready to get out of jail her whole backside started to wiggle she hitch hiked with me from seattle to santa fe new mexico and back we had an incredible life together R.I.P. ROSIE 1992-2007

  10. Mark Wallin

    One thing I know is a 6'x10' rubber swimming pool 2 feet deep can make a nice warm bath with Sea Salt . Take a long garden hose attach it to washing machine hot water and fill pool It is great for family and arthritis , if dog is suffering get him or her to sit down , hold it's head when laying down ,it can be a drowning danger , be careful.

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