Schoep, dog in viral photo with owner, dies - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Schoep, dog in viral photo with owner, dies

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Bayfield's beloved viral dog passed away this week, drawing response from all over the northland, and all over the world. 

 20-year-old Schoep and his owner, John Unger, have spent the last year in the spotlight after a picture of them spread like wildfire on social media, changing their lives. 
 
The story starts on the light side. 
 
"We always joked about needing photos of Schoep in the water with him," photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson said.

And then takes a tragic turn for John Unger, as the reality of the dog's advanced age became undeniable. 
 
"I'm going to have to put Schoep down very soon, he's not doing well," Hudson said. 
 
But after Hudson captured the moment of Unger and Schoep, "The effect was huge." 
 
The cause and effect of a viral photograph turns a near tragedy into a miracle for Unger and Hudson. 
 
"It has turned into this community of everybody helping each other in time of need," Unger said. 
 
"It started this whole wonderful movement of people sharing their stories, sharing their stories about their old pets, discovery new methods of keeping their pets healthy," Hudson said. 
 
An influx of donations and support for then 19-year-old Schoep allowed medical treatment, giving him another year. 
 
"They gave us more time to be with each other and I can't put that into words," Unger said. 
 
But almost one-year after the picture was taken, Schoep passed away with Unger holding him, until the very end. 
 
"It was the best, last day I could have ever wanted with him, because it was the perfect day.  It was absolutely the perfect day," Unger said. 
 
They spent their last days in the lake that gave them the extra year. 
 
"I'll always thank him and I'll always have him," Unger said. 
 
Unger will always remember his best friend and picture that symbolized their love.

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