Viral Photo Captures Attention and Hearts All Over the World

By KBJR News 1

August 9, 2012 Updated Jul 18, 2013 at 8:45 PM CDT

Bayfield, WI (Northlands NewsCenter) -- A Bayfield man has been thrust into the spotlight after a picture of him, and his 19–year–old dog went viral on the internet.

The image of John Unger and his dog Schoep has been viewed millions of times on facebook, reaching people across the world.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but, it's safe to say one of Hannah Stonehouse Hudson's newest snapshot is worth millions.

"It's been viewed almost three million times; it's been shared I think 150,000 times. It's been like an incredible amount of times," said Hudson on an overcast day in Bayfield. "My mother has a saying, "For the comfort and convenience of the dog," and he is the epitome of this saying. He loves this dog, he takes care of this dog, his life is about this dog."

John Unger and Schoep have spent almost twenty years together; he was rescued as a puppy.

"We both wanted to work with a dog that had been abused and we knew this. We talked about it and that's what we wanted to do. We wanted to help out an animal and bring out his full potential," said Unger.

It's hard for Unger to talk about their time together because 19–year–old Shoep is nearing the end of his long, happy life.

"What he means to me? I can't put into words."

He suffers from arthritis and has trouble sleeping, so to ease his pain, Unger takes him swimming and Schoep will fall asleep in his arms.

"Not too many more times are we going to be able to do this. So every time now it's a pretty special feeling....the buoyancy it gives him in the water relieves the pain, or at least some of it to the point where he's relaxed," said Unger with Schoep by his side.

Hudson's picture captured this moment perfectly and her snap shot, viewed three million times, comes down to one word...love.

"They are two amazing beings and if you can take anything from this photo, take the love from it and pass it one to other people," said Hudson.

"You give love and that love will return ten fold, that's what I want people to get from this photograph," said Unger.

Unger has received an overwhelming amount of support since the picture went viral. People are even stepping up to help pay for Schoep's medical costs.

Zach Vavricka