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So, he took Schoep to one of their cherished spots, Lake Superior. The sobering diagnosis from the veterinarian prompted him to invite a photographer to capture the poignant moment.

Little did he anticipate that the image, captured by his talented friend and photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, would become a viral sensation. In the photograph, Unger is tenderly cradling a water-soaked Schoep, lulling him to sleep.

This heartwarming tale initiated a dialogue that resonated with numerous dog enthusiasts, alleviating Unger’s concerns about Schoep’s veterinary care.

“A generous woman from Virginia covered the cost of the latest laser therapy for his joints,” he shared with TODAY.com. “She funded the entire treatment, and I have no idea how much it cost, but I couldn’t have managed it on my own.”

“People from all corners are contributing. It’s unbelievable. Donations have poured in, and I no longer have to fret about vet expenses,” he added.

This wasn’t the first occasion Unger brought Schoep to Lake Superior. Thirteen years prior, he introduced Schoep to the lake, initiating swimming lessons.

However, Schoep wasn’t just any dog; he played a pivotal role in saving Unger’s life, who had struggled with depression for much of his existence.

Recalling a pivotal moment, Unger revealed, “I went out on the breakwater, and I was contemplating suicide.”

Describing how Schoep intervened, he said, “He just snapped me out of that moment… we walked around the rest of the night until dawn.”

In 2013, Unger shared on their joint Facebook page the passing of his cherished companion of two decades. Accompanied by a photo of Schoep’s paw-print in the sand, he expressed, “I Breathe But I Can’t Catch My Breath.”

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