Schoep, the Dog Cradled in the Arms of His Human in Lake Superior, Has Died

Our hearts go out to John Unger. This was one special little dog.


Last year Dogster readers delighted in the heartwarming relationship between John Unger and his dog Schoep.

Unger, who went to great depths to ease Schoep’s pain of severe arthritis with water therapy, was an inspiring figure. With the help of photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson of Stonehouse Photography, the image of Unger and Shoep practicing water therapy touched many people around the world in a profound way. It went viral on the Internet.

Their story is a beautiful one that made us at Dogster emotional and happy to see the true love a person can carry for a dog.

That’s why we are sad to inform our readers that Shoep has passed away. He was 20 years old.

Unger wrote the following statement on the Schoep and John Facebook page this afternoon:

“I breathe but I can’t catch my breath … Schoep passed yesterday … more information in the days ahead.”

Unger adopted Schoep with his then-fiancée from a shelter. They both had to work hard to gain the trust of Schoep, who had experienced abuse. However, this did not deter Unger, who was determined to show Schoep how to trust again.

Both experienced difficult times in their lives -– Schoep being abused, and Unger having to deal with the departure of his fiancée as well as depression. The love Unger had for Shoep, and the companionship they had with one another, made it possible for Unger to keep going.

It breaks our hearts to know that Schoep is no longer with us, but we are deeply sorry for Unger’s loss, and we wish him the best.

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