After the picture of John Unger and his dog Schoep from Wisconsin went viral on the Internet, the life of the pooch has improved significantly.
John, together with his ex-fiancée, adopted Schoep when he was only 8 months old from the Ozaukee Animal Shelter and the duo have been inseparable ever since. Now, almost 20 years later, this 19-year old canine not only suffers from cataracts which prevent him from seeing in sunlight, but also arthritis. In order to help his ailing friend, John regularly takes him for a swim to Lake Superior (see picture). The movement of the lake's water appeases Schoep's pain, allowing him to relax and fall asleep.
Schoep played a crucial role in John's life, when the man, after being left by his fiancée, became depressed. He says that it was Schoep's trust, companionship and presence the night he seriously thought about committing suicide that gave him to courage to move on with his life. In order to return the unconditional love and favor, John is willing to do anything he can for his furry best friend.
A couple of months ago, after a visit to the vet triggered by the fact that Schoep was limping, John learned his beloved dog's condition had deteriorated. Learning he might have to put Schoep down soon pushed John to call Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, his professional photographer friend, to take the picture they had been talking about doing for the past 4 years.
The incredible success of this shot of the duo touched millions, some of which donated money to fund Schoep's treatments. Inspired by the generosity of the donors John to create Schoep's Legacy Foundation, which has raised over $25,000 thanks even more numerous donations. The latter have allowed Schoep to get laser treatment to reduce the pain and swelling that result from his condition and, according to the dog's vet, Dr Haukass, could help about another 30 or 40 arthritic pooches.
Since this picture, Hannah has seen an increase of 30% in her business, John has been looking into dating again and Schoep's foundation has raised enough money for him to receive his treatment every few weeks and spend his golden years pain-free as well as to help other dogs in the same situation. This is another great example of how the power of love between a man and his dog can change both their and other people's lives for the better.