Dori Edwards, Global Animal

A picture is worth a thousand words. But in the case of John Unger and his dog Schoep, a picture is worth thousands of dollars. After a friend snapped a photograph of Unger rocking his 19-year-old, arthritic dog to sleep in the waters of Lake Superior, the picture went viral and compassionate persons from around the world have contributed donations for Schoep’s therapy. 

A picture of John Unger rocking his arthritic dog Schoep to sleep in Lake Superior inspired donations from people around the world. Photo credit: Hannah Stonehouse Hudson/

Unger credits Schoep with his life after his companion saved him from committing suicide when he and his wife divorced.

“He just snapped me out of it,” Unger says. “(He) just wants to do whatever (he) can for this dog.” And that he does. Every night Unger carries his dog into the lake and stays there until the water soothes Schoep’s arthritis and he falls asleep.  

When the picture was taken, Unger expected it was his last night with his dying dog, but with the recent donations Unger has been able to provide Schoep with medical care and he is making great progress. 

Since Unger received such an overwhelming amount of generosity from global activists, over $25,000, he is giving the rest to the Schoep Legacy Foundation. SLF donates money for spay and neuter services and helps low income families pay for veterinary care. 

Schoep saved his owner’s life and his legacy will save many more. Animal lovers have not only changed Unger and Schoep’s world, but they are inspiring change for animals worldwide. Keep working together, animal lovers!