The man pictured lulling his arthritic dog to sleep in Lake Superior has revealed that his dog Schoep saved him from the brink of suicide.
John Unger, 49, adopted the dog with his ex-fiancée 19 years ago, but after the relationship ended, Mr Unger fought a desperate despair.
The companionship of his trusty rescue dog gave Mr Unger the courage to go on, saying : 'I don’t think I’d be here if I didn’t have Schoep with me. I just want to do whatever I can for this dog.'
The water soothes the animal's pain, Mr Unger said, allowing him to sleep.‘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,' the photographer [Unger's friend] explained.
And because of this photo, people have donated money so that Unger can get Schoep treatments that ease his arthritis and will prolong his life.
This doesn't surprise me. Dogs are such wonderful creatures and truly deserve respect from Man. My four dogs mean the world to me:
Dante, my old man (a Standard Schnauzer who will be 9 next month), is utterly devoted to me and is usually next to me when I am in the house, following me from room to room. He was a gift from a friend who sadly left me and my family, but whom we still love, and for that reason Dante has a special place in my heart. He has assumed a natural role as pack leader among the other dogs, with his maturity.
Josie (4-year-old tri-color) Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the . . . bitch. She demands nothing but absolute fealty, which is why we love her. She tends to bear the brunt of jokes with the youngest two dogs, goading her to attack them, knowing that her short legs cannot keep up with them. Whenever we buy a new bag of dog food, Josie feels compelled to lie next to it, guarding it, convinced that if she turns her back for an instant, the other dogs will eat it all. All 50 pounds.
Samson (1-year-old blue Weimaraner) is our linebacker. He's big, he's thick, he's a "thunk" - but we also call him "Sugar" at times because he has the sweetest disposition. There is simply not a mean bone in his body. This is not to say that if someone or something he perceived as a danger to his family appeared, he would greet them with a wagging tail - on the contrary, you don't want to see him mad. He loves his family, but I think he feels more protective towards the children.
Maccabee (9-month-old blue Weimaraner) should have been named Macchiavelli, because he is the brat of the pack as the youngest. Any mischief will find Mac as the instigator. For example, sometimes he will see another dog sleeping peacefully . . . too peacefully for Mac's taste, so he strolls over and sits on their head. He is also "mouthy" in showing affection - when one friend came to spend the weekend, he kept sneaking up behind her to give her a quick nip on her butt, taken as he was with her. Already as tall as Sam, he won't be chunky - instead, he's got chorus girl's legs and a lean, handsome face. Call him "Pretty Boy."
Last weekend, some yellow jackets made their home beneath the porch. Several came up and stung poor Mac right by the eye. It swelled right up and I had to get some children's Benedryl to get it back down. Our friend advised my husband to pour a cup of gasoline into their nest to kill them. He poured a quart, explaining to me, "No one hurts one of my pups and gets away with it." Indeed.
Schoep is lucky. John Unger knows the debt he owes.