Schoep, The Arthritic Dog, Dies At 20; Viral Photos Of Schoep And Owner John Unger Captured Hearts

Schoep The Dog
Schoep, the arthritic dog photographed floating on Lake Superior with his owner, dies at the age of 20. Stonehouse Photo

Schoep, the arthritic dog who touched the hearts of millions after a photo surfaced of him and his owner John Unger taking a swim to soothe his condition, has passed away just a month after turning 20 years old.

"I breathe but I can't catch my breath," read a post on the Schoep and John Facebook page.

"Schoep passed yesterday.  More information in the days ahead."

After a debilitating bout of arthritis restricted Schoep's movements and caused him to lose sleep, Unger took his best friend down to Lake Superior and began gently gliding him through the water.

Unger's friend and photographer, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, decided to snap a pic of the touching moment. Little did she know her picture would be thrust into the national spotlight and spark an outpouring of support in the form of letters and donations to improve Schoep's health, the Daily Mail reported.

"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," said Hudson.

The photo has been such an inspiration to people around the world that a charity dubbed the Schoep Legacy Foundation was successful in raising over $25,000 to support low-income families who cannot properly care for aging dogs.

Similar to the letters and donations sent to Schoep and his owner following the photo's release, the Facebook status — announcing Schoep's passing — has received over 35,000 likes and 65,000 comments since being posted less than a day ago.

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