Dog featured in viral photo dies

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SCHOEPBAYFIELD, Wis. – A sad update to a story that has been viral for about a year. Schoep, the dog pictured floating to sleep in his owners arms, has died. His owner, John Unger posted the news on Facebook, saying the 20-year-old Shepherd mix died.

Schoep became an Internet sensation when the photo of him and Unger went viral. Unger would bring the dog to Lake Superior each night and hold him in the water while the dog fell asleep. Arthritis took a toll on the dog, and the daily trips to the lake would help alleviate his pain. Old age had also cost Schoep his eyesight.

Once the story got out, donations began to pour in to help pay for medical treatments. Unger received around $10,000 which was used to pay for weekly laser treatments to help ease the pain of arthritis.

Unger said because of that generosity, Schoep was able to do things he hadn’t done in years, and he believed it gave him at least another year of life.

Schoep was last in the news in June, when he celebrated his 20th birthday. Unger said they celebrated with an ice cream birthday cake, while reading hundreds of cards sent from around the world.

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    • Chris

      I missed the original story so I went back to see more info about it. Warning: This will make you weep! What a blessing this dog had such a wonderful master and what a gift Schoep was.

      RIP precious pup!

  • holdeninwa

    Such a gorgeous story about #humanity & man's eternal #bestfriend. #Spirit of #Julius #Oscar #Elvis #Victor #Daguhoy #inspire my #every #day #Mybeloved #companions so #loyal #genuine.

  • Floretta

    Those laser treatments are marvelous. We have a Samoyed/Shepherd mix (much younger than Schoep) who limped and bit at his aching arthritic hindquarters until we tried it. Not much change after one treatment but by the end of six the years melted away and he was trotting around happily. So glad Schoep got relief in his last year. I'm sure his passing will leave an enormous void in his owner's life but he has so many great years of memories, not to mention thousands of people around the world who share and understand his loss.