The deep bond between a man and his dog was captured in a tender moment in July of 2012. John Unger asked his friend Hannah Stonehouse Hudson to take one last photo of his beloved dog, Schoep, a 19-year-old dog with arthritis.

Unger was anticipating having to put Schoep to sleep soon due to the severity of the arthritis his dog was suffering from. So Stonehouse Hudson met her longtime friends at Lake Superior to photograph the two of them as  Unger would float Schoep in the water to try to alleviate the pain in the the elderly dog’s arthritic joints.

Stonehouse Hudson posted the now-famous photo capturing the precious moment to her Facebook page on August 1st. The powerful image went viral, spreading all over the Internet and through the media. The image touched dog lovers worldwide, causing an outpouring of support for Unger and Schoep. Donations also came in which allowed Unger to afford treatments that gave his dog another relatively pain-free year of living and continued inspiration to others.

Second Wind

Unger reported in September of 2012, “As best as I can guess, the treatments have turned back the clock on his life about a year-and-a-half to two years. I’ve taken him for walks on trails that we haven’t been on in three years. He’s not dragging his back legs like he was before. To be able to do that again with him, words can’t even describe the feeling.”

Unger continued to post photos of Schoep over the next year on Facebook. This photo from July 15, 2013 captured a recent good day they shared together.


“A fantastic day we had. Up early to walk and go to the beach, eat, nap, go shopping, eat, laundry, go to the beach, eat, nap and one more walk. All without the humidity, thats what made it fantastic – especially for Schoep!”

Sadly, the 20-year-old dog passed away two days later with John Unger posting on Thursday evening: “I Breathe But I Can’t Catch My Breath. Schoep Passed yesterday. More information in the days ahead.”

Unger’s friend and photographer, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, posted on her own Facebook page that evening, “RIP Schoep. He had an amazing life and touched us all. Please keep John in your thoughts.”

The Legacy Continues

The story of Schoep and John’s friendship will continue to impact others. The image will forever remind future generations of the civilized care we humans are capable of.

To ensure this message carries on, Stonehouse Hudson started the Schoep Legacy Foundation to help lower-income families to care for pets in need.

Condolences may be sent to:

P.O. Box 434

Bayfield WI 54814 U.S.A.