John Unger adopted little Schoep when he was just an eight-month-old puppy. Some time later, John broke up with his former fiancée and began having suicidal thoughts. It was Schoep (named after the famous Wisconsin ice cream) who stayed by his side that fateful night and saved John’s life – by just being there.

“He just snapped me out of it. I don’t know how to explain it”, John said. Determined to return the deed, John vowed to do whatever he can for his beloved dog, who means everything to him. (Source)

Schoep is 19 years old this year. He has arthiritis and has trouble sleeping because of the pain. John started taking his buddy into Lake Superior to lull him to sleep when he found that water was therapeutic.


On a random day, Hannah “Stonehouse” Hudson (owner of Stonehouse Photography) and friend of John’s decided to capture the moment.

She had all about five minutes in the totally last minute session and this is what she “caught”:

Since then, the picture of John and Schoep that speaks a million words has gone viral, touching the hearts of hundreds and thousands.

All Hannah had to do was post it up on her Facebook page and the amount of likes and shares simply spun out of control – but in a good way.

Hannah also added in the photo caption:


This 19 year old Schoep being cradled in his father’s arms last night in Lake Superior. Schoep 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 Schoep as an 8 month old puppy, and he’s been by his side through many adventures.

Such a simple shot, but it spoke volumes. Hannah’s unplanned/unstaged photo of Schoep and John has gone on to help people identify with a time when they felt safe, secure, and loved. The popularity of the photo has also spurred an outpouring of support in the form of donations to help pay for Schoep’s arthritis laser treatment.

For more information, visit Hannah “Stonehouse” Hudson’s Facebook page.

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