"I Breathe But I Can't Catch My Breath."
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 10, 2023. It has since been updated.
Dogs are considered the most beloved animals when it comes to pets and has certainly earned the tag of being "man's best friend." They often go to great lengths to protect the ones they love and are also very handy when it comes to aiding people with ailments and disabilities. They spend their whole life attached to their loved ones and losing a pet is truly heartbreaking. Schoep, the arthritic dog that gained popularity online after being photographed gently floating on Lake Superior in his owner's arms. He died in 2013 after having a happy and long life, reports TODAY. He was certainly loved to the very end as the pictures prove.
John Unger, the owner of the 20-year-old dog, posted a message on Facebook announcing the passing of his closest buddy. He wrote, "I Breathe But I Can't Catch My Breath. Schoep passed yesterday.." Schoep and Unger's photo and story enthralled hundreds of animal lovers. At the time, Unger felt he would soon have to put the 19-year-old Schoep to sleep. He requested a friend to capture one last picture of them together in expectation of his passing.
They invited that friend, photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, to Lake Superior, where Schoep loved to float with the assistance of Unger to relieve pressure on his arthritic joints. On August 1, she took a picture of the two of them in the lake and uploaded it to her Facebook page. A flood of online donations and support was generated as a result of that photograph spreading over the world. Unger was able to pay for therapies to improve his dog's condition thanks to the assistance he got.
Unger told TODAY in 2010, "As best as I can guess, the treatments have turned back the clock on his life about a year-and-a-half to two years. I’ve taken him for walks on trails that we haven’t been on in three years. He’s not dragging his back legs like he was before. To be able to do that again with him, words can’t even describe the feeling." Just before his death, Unger posted a good update on Schoep and a photo of the shepherd mix napping in a field of vivid yellow flowers on Facebook.
He wrote in the caption, "A fantastic day we had. Up early to walk and go to the beach, eat, nap, go shopping, eat, do laundry, go to the beach, eat, nap, and one more walk. All without the humidity, that’s what made it fantastic — especially for Schoep!" This was shared on Facebook by Stonehouse Hudson, the photographer who made Schoep and Unger famous, "RIP Schoep. He had an amazing life and touched us all. Please keep John in your thoughts."
Another picture that will warm your heart is of Aldo, a dentist's assistant dog in Ecuador that helps patients calm down at a dental clinic. He provides emotional assistance to kids who visit Parque Dental for their appointments. A Twitter page called, "WeRateDogs," wrote alongside the pictures of Aldo, "He helps reduce their stress, increase their trust in the dentist, and reinforce their self-esteem."