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VIDEO: The Heartfelt Story Behind a Man & His Dog in the Water

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A photo by Hannah Stonehouse-Hudson of a man cradling his dog in the cool waters of Lake Superior has been making it’s way around the internet, seen by millions as a snapshot of pure love between man and his best friend.

To watch Bayfield, Wisconsin resident, John Unger speak of the love for his 19-year old rescue dog, Schoep is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

WFMY News reported on the story that’s making headlines around the globe,

The shepherd mix has lost his sight to cataracts. Age also brought arthritis and hip problems. It’s a pain and stiffness that offers little relief, until John heads a mile from home. In the shallow water of Lake Superior, owner and pet find a temporary peace.

For the last 18 years, John and Schoep have been constant companions, the best of friends. But old age is catching up to the loyal pup. “It’s tough to see him get old of course,” said Unger. Because of his arthritic joints, Schoep has trouble sleeping. So, John takes his pal to the shallow shores of Lake Superior, carries him into the water, and cradles the sweet dog. Their sessions in the water last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the water temperature and how Schoep is responding to it.

The buoyancy of the water takes all pressure off of the aging dog’s joints, allowing him a few moments of peace and painlessness. Rather than trying to swim and play as most dogs would, Schoep takes those few moments to enjoy a comfortable nap in his best friend’s arms.

Unger says lovingly of his dog, “I can only give him what I can, and he’s always given me his all.” He knows his special dog’s time will soon be up, and hopes that the dog goes peacefully in his sleep.

Watch the video below from WFMY News to see the special bond between John and Schoep. And, may you all experience the deep love these two share in your own lives.

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  1. Avatar Of Sandra



    I had a corgi mix 21 yrs. and very smart. I went into the utility room one morning to let her out and she was laying on her stomach with legs spread out. I knew it was “time” so I was the one who had to take her to the vet to be put to sleep. This was hard as she was raised with my two girls and was like one of them. Didn’t think I was going to get over this.
    I now have a beagle & lab mix, doesn’t look anything like a beagle but she is smart too, has been with us only. She is 12 yrs., slowing down and has arthritis in her hips and limps but keeps going. We give her something for the arthritis. I hope she goes to sleep when it’s her time, don’t think I could take her to be put to sleep.

  2. Avatar Of Sandy



    I can understand this loyalty. I too had a 14 year old Lab named Alex, I had to have special sleeping bags and beds just to keep his hips from hurting too much.
    Came home one day and he had no back legs just draggin’ himself around with his front paws! It was his way of telling me it was “time”!
    God bless you John and I do hope your best friend passes peacefully in his sleep.

  3. Avatar Of Jason Jason says:

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  4. Avatar Of June Phillips

    June phillips


    How heartwarming….love you both, a beautiful bond between man and his dog.

  5. Avatar Of Rose



    I think I love you John Unger…what a beautiful story..

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