Schoep, dog in famous photo, has died

John Unger and his dog Schoep in the waters of Lake Superior; the dog passed away on Thursday. (Photo credit: Hannah Stonehouse Hudson)

The subject of one of the most iconic images of a dog’s relationship to humans died yesterday.

A picture of Schoep, a 20-year-old dog, and his owner John Unger, sitting in the waters of Lake Superior, quickly went viral and became one of the most recognized photos on the Internet. Professional photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson captured the image.

“I Breathe But I Can’t Catch My Breath…” read a post by Unger on the Schoep and John Facebook page. “Schoep passed yesterday. More information in the days ahead.”

The Bayfield County, Wis., resident would take his dog to Lake Superior and use the warm waters to help relieve the animal’s arthritis.

But as soothing as nature’s waters were, in summer 2012, Schoep required expensive medical treatment and medication to keep the pain in check. Unable to foot the bill, Unger considered euthanasia.

Once word of Unger’s dilemma got online, however, donations flooded in to help the pooch. Not only was Unger able to keep Schoep comfortable, but he, Hudson, and veterinarian Dr. Erik Haukass, established the Schoep’s Legacy Foundation, which raised money for animal welfare.

“I want people to identify with this photo, and remember a time when they felt safe, loved, and cared for,” Hudson told The Huffington Post in 2012. “Then I want them to channel those feelings and pay it forward.”

Based on the number of Facebook Likes, tweets, popularity of the photo, and the sheer number of people it touched, it looks as if she succeeded.

Rest in peace, Schoep.