An image showing a man cradling his dog while taking a dip in Lake Superior has gone so viral that the Wisconsin photographer was compelled to hire a PR specialist to handle inquiries. It’s beyond cute, but the story behind the image makes it even more touching.
The dog, named Schoep, was rescued from a shelter as a puppy and since then he and John Unger have been inseparable. Schoep, however, is now 19 and suffering from severe arthritis. The buoyancy relieves his pain so these evening dips have become therapy sessions, with Schoep invariably falling asleep in Unger’s arms.
“[Shoep] falls asleep every night when he is carried into the lake. The buoyancy of the water soothes his arthritic bones. Lake Superior is very warm right now, so the temp of the water is perfect.
“I was so happy I got to capture this moment for John. By the way, John rescued Shoep as an 8 month old puppy, and he’s been by his side through many adventures :).”
That was Aug. 1. Through Thursday the image had been shared more than 170,000 times. The post had received more than 285,000 likes and nearly 31,000 comments.
One of the most recent comments reads: “Isn’t this so touching? Made me choke up again.”
That was followed by this: “Made me cry too…. but happy tears… i love my dog soooo much and would go to great lengths to make him as comfortable as possible and loved…. i shared this photo as well…. beautiful!”
Stonehouse Street is selling prints of the photo to help pay for Schoep’s vet bills.
–Image is courtesy of StoneHouse Street for this story only and is protected by copyright laws
–Editor’s note: The dog’s name is spelled Shep in some places, but Schoep is the correct spelling.