Several months ago, a photograph posted on Facebook changed the lives of a dog named Schoep, his father John Unger and, now, countless other senior dogs.
The photograph was of Unger, cradling 19-year-old Schoep in the shallows of Lake Superior. Unger’s friend and photographer, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson wrote in the post that accompanied the photo: “Schoep falls asleep every night when he is carried into the lake. The buoyancy of the water soothes his arthritic bones.”
No one could have predicted the response that followed. Strangers who saw the photo and were touched by the story sent letters, emails and unsolicited donations to put towards therapy treatments that might ease Schoep’s pain – and that Unger couldn’t afford.
Soon more than $25,000 amassed. The amount was much more than Unger needed to help Schoep, so he formed Schoep’s Legacy Foundation to assist low-income families with treatments for their senior dogs.
And Schoep, the sweet-faced dog whose image prompted the outpouring of love and generosity, received the much-needed expensive joint laser treatments that reduced his pain and arthritic swelling. “Schoep is doing incredible right now,” Unger told the Daily Mail. “The therapies that the people have donated – it’s like turning back the clock a year and a half.”
The extra, pain-free time Schoep and Unger will have together is an unexpected gift for the two, who have been together since Schoep was an 8-month-old puppy.
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