Thursday, August 16, 2012
Warm Fuzzy's for the Heart
This photo of John Unger holding his 19-year-old dog Schoep in Lake Superior is capturing hearts across the internet.
Unger rescued the dog as a puppy, and the two have been together since then. Schoep suffers from arthritis and Unger found that the warm summer waters of Lake Superior helped him relax and fall asleep.
He asked photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson to take a picture of what he believed might be one of their last moments together.
In a piece for the Duluth News Tribune, John Lundy writes:
Unger and his then-fianceé found the dog 18 years ago at a humane society in Ozaukee County, Wis., when it was an 8-month-old puppy. "We knew we wanted to work with an animal who was abused,"
Unger said. "I just had a vision of working with an animal to bring out his full potential." Testing suggested that the dog had been beaten by a male, and it took Unger another eight months to fully earn his trust.
The relationship with his fianceé didn't work out. They shared custody of Schoep for a while, but he has been Unger's full time since his former fianceé moved to Colorado 13 or 14 years ago. But the breakup with his fianceé caused Unger to enter a depression.
One night, he said, he went to a breakwater in Lake Michigan off Milwaukee with thoughts of suicide. "To be honest with you, I don't think I'd be here if I didn't have Schoep with me (that night). He just snapped me out of it. I don't know how to explain it. He just snapped me out of it. ... I just want to do whatever I can for this dog because he basically saved my ass."