Schoep, the dog in viral photo, passes away

BAYFIELD, Wis. - Schoep, a 20-year-old dog, and his owner, John Unger, spent much of the last year in the spotlight.  A photo of the two became viral on social media.

Photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson said, "We always joked about needing photos of Schoep in the water with him."

Hudson captured a moment on camera, with Unger and Schoep together in a Wisconsin lake.  The dog appeared relaxed and at ease in his owner's arms.  The dog's advanced age meant Unger might soon have to put him down. 

"It has turned into this community of everybody helping each other in time of need," Unger said.

When the photo captured attention from people around the world, people started to share stories and new discovery methods for keeping pets healthy.  Donations poured in, allowing for medical treatment, and buying Schoep another year.

Unger explained, "They gave us more time to be with each other and I can't put that into words."

About a year after the photo was taken, however, Schoep passed away with Unger holding him until the end.  The two had spent Schoep's last days together in the lake that gave him the extra year of life.

"It was the best, last day I could have ever wanted with him, because it was the perfect day.  It was absolutely the perfect day."

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