John Unger and Schoep

‘They say dogs are man’s best friend. John Unger and Schoep are proof of that. Their friendship started when Unger adopted Schoep from a shelter as a puppy 19 years ago. It turns out Schoep wasn’t the only one who needed to be rescued.

“He’s been my guardian for a number of years,” Unger said. Time has given them memories, but it has also taken a toll on Schoep’s body. “This joint right here kind of freezes up,” Unger said pointing to Schoep’s hind leg.

Arthritis and hip dysplasia have settled into Schoep’s joints. The only comfort now is a routine that keeps Schoep off his feet. Unger takes Schoep out into Lake Superior for a dip as often as they can. Unger gently places his arm under Schoep as they float together in the water. With no pressure on his body Schoep quickly falls asleep in Unger’s arms. Schoep’s eyes close as his head rests on Unger’s chest. Sometimes they stay that way for hours.

“This is living,” Unger said as they floated in Lake Superior Thursday evening. Unger is careful with every minute. He’s not sure how much longer Schoep will be around. He wanted just one picture of them in the water to capture their friendship. He asked Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, owner of Stonehouse Photo in Bayfield, to take a few pictures. She posted one picture of Unger and Schoep on Facebook, and it went viral within a few hours. It has now been viewed more than 2 million times.’  (, with thanks to Noah)

3 thoughts on “John Unger and Schoep

  1. Amanda Leisle 15 Aug 12 / 1.36 am

    I got my pup, Rosie, when my husband and I were separating…for the first time. Mind you, I didn’t want a puppy, but I had a customer who’s daughter’s bitch had puppies and they were desperate to place them. I liked her brother, Gus, not her…but this was the pup (Rosie) that kept making her way onto my lap and kept trying to lick my face. After four times of seeing this litter I took both my boys to see the litter to see which was the best one for us as a family…Gus bit me and totally ignored both my boys. Needless to say, we came home with Rosie….she is the best dog ever! So when I read your story about you and Schoep…it made me cry…like cry, when I used to teach preschool kids and they would cry to a point where they would be, “schnarf,schnarf……hiccup” and all over again! Because I love my girl (Rosie) to the point of almost madness…she means the world to me, just like Schoep means the world to you. Rosie and I have almost this telepathy….I’ve tested this before. I can leave work early, unbeknownst to everyone, and find her running out to meet me as I drive in…my housemate will tell me that she scratched at the door, and I’m still convinced it’s because as I’m driving home without anyone knowing and I send her a mental message….she knows I’m coming home. And no one knows when I’m leaving….so God Bless You for taking such good care of Schoep….dogs just have the best bonds with their people, and it’s obvious Schoep loves you dearly otherwise why would he trust you enough to fall asleep in your arms….your bond is amazing and I truly think you are a great man for loving this dog the way you do, and for him loving you in return…..may you have many more special moments together. Thank you so much for sharing your story…I love you both so much and hope you can have some more precious moments together….please keep me posted as to what happens because I so get this….
    I’m praying (in my own weird way) for the both of you….you so are meant to be together….
    Much love and heartfelt compassion your way, to both of you….


  2. Diane Manville 15 Aug 12 / 7.17 am

    What Amanda so eloquently said. What is invaluable in life is love, mutual respect and care and decency. Thanks for reminding us. I love you guys***


  3. Deanne 15 Aug 12 / 10.51 am

    John, you melt my heart…


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