Bayfield man, dog receive help, then help others

10:24 AM, Oct 5, 2012   |    comments
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  • Photo courtesy: Hannah Stonehouse Hudson/
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  • Meet the Bayfield man and dog behind viral photo
  • BAYFIELD, Wis. - The waters of Lake Superior used to heal Schoep's aching body but lately it's become too chilly for the 19-year-old shepherd mix and his owner, John Unger, to go in for an evening dip in the lake.

    At least once a week Schoep receives laser therapy treatment. Unger says Schoep is in less pain.

    "His whole quality of life has improved, definitely," Unger said.

    None of it would have happened without the kindness of strangers, Unger added.

    Unger's home is filled with letters, donations and gifts all thanks to a picture snapped more than a month ago. In the photo, the duo is shown in Lake Superior. Unger is drifting in the water with Schoep asleep on his chest.

    The photo was shared and liked on social media sites more than 2 million times. It inspired people from around the world to send money to help Schoep live out the last few months of his life in comfort.

    In total, $50,000 was donated to help Schoep, but their lives weren't the only ones that changed.

    Hannah Stonehouse Hudson is the woman behind the famous photo. Since the photo went viral she is getting requests for photo shoots from all around the nation.

    "I was flown out to Seattle to take some photos of a dog. I'm flying to Ohio to take pictures of a dog," she said.

    Hudson, Unger and Schoep's vet have decided to pay it forward by starting Schoep's Legacy Foundation with all the donations to help other owners and their pets.

    The hope is to give those in need the same support they were lucky enough to get. The first project the foundation is funding is a spay and neuter clinic for low-income families.

    (Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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