Photographer Captures Tender Moment Between Man And His Sick Dog In Lake Superior (PHOTO)
The Huffington Post | By Cavan Sieczkowski | 08/09/2012 5:25 pm
“They say a dog is a man's best friend, but to John Unger, a Wisconsin resident, his dog, Schoep, means everything.
Unger adopted Schoep, named after the famous Wisconsin ice cream, when he was just a puppy, and the two have been together ever since. Now, at 19 years old, Schoep has arthritis and has trouble sleeping, the Pioneer Press reports. Unger found that water is therapeutic for his pained buddy, so he takes Schoep into Lake Superior and lulls him to sleep.
Photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, owner of Stonehouse Photography and a friend of Unger's, decided to capture the relationship between the man and his dog down by the water.
"This photo was from a last minute session," the Bayfield, Wis., photographer told The Huffington Post in an email. "I had about 5 minutes to shoot and this is what I caught - a man and his dog. John loving his Schoep, and Schoep trusting John so much he falls asleep in the buoyancy of the water.”
Stonehouse Hudson decided to post the photo to Facebook, where she described the pair's loving relationship.
"This 19 year old Shep being cradled in his father's arms last night in Lake Superior," she wrote in the Facebook post, which has received more than 207,000 likes and 116,000 shares as of Wednesday morning.
"Shep 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.
She said the photograph of Unger and Schoep is more than just a moment frozen in time; it's an everlasting reminder.
"I want people to identify with this photo, and remember a time when they felt safe, loved, and cared for," Stonehouse Hudson said. "Then I want them to channel those feelings and pay it forward!“
UPDATE: John Lundy of the Duluth News Tribune interviewed John Unger, who described how Schoep saved his life. After breaking up with his former fiancee, Unger had been having suicidal thoughts. “To be honest with you, I don’t think I’d be here if I didn’t have Schoep with me (that night)," Unger told Lundy. "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.” Minnesota Public Radio reports that the popularity of the photo has spurred an outpouring of support in the form of donations to help pay for laser treatment for Schoep's arthritis.
A truly inspiring story of a man and his dog, the pic is so beautiful as the man holds his arthritic dog in his arms in the soothing warm waters of Lake Superior so that it can sleep without pain.
It is wonderful to see such loyalty and trust in each other. Dogs and cats are truly man's best friends.