A photo posted on Facebook shows a Wisconsin man cradling his life-long companion in the water of Lake Superior to ease the pain of canine arthritis.
A close friend and professional photographer captured the moment.
John Unger adopted Schoep when he was just a puppy, and now that the dog has developed arthritis, he has trouble getting to sleep.
The photographer says, ‘Shep falls asleep every night when he is carried into the lake. The buoyancy of the water soothes his arthritic bones. Lake Superior is very warm right now, so the temp of the water is perfect'.
Unger and his then-fiancee adopted Schroep when the pup was only eight months old and had been abused by its former owner. The couple worked hard to establish the trust of the dog and eventually brought out it's 'full potential'.
Though Unger's relationship with his fiancée did not last, he retained custody of the dog.
And at one point, Unger contemplated suicide.
He explains: 'To be honest with you, I don’t think I’d be here if I didn’t have Schroep with me (that night). He just snapped me out of it. I don’t know how to explain it. He just snapped me out of it. … I just want to do whatever I can for this dog because he basically saved my ass.'
Now that Schroep is in pain with his arthritis, it is Unger's time to return the favor.