|John Unger with his dog|
(Scroll down for video) A photo uploaded to Facebook showing a dog owner putting his sick dog to sleep in the river, became a huge Internet hit.
“The unconditional love of a dog is a powerful thing,” John Unger of Bayfield, Wisconsin, said.
During the past 19 years, the faithful companion of Unger has been Schoep, a shepherd mix.
Unger learned two weeks ago that his dog had severe arthritis and may need to be killed shortly.
“I was devastated, so I decided to help ease the pain of Schoep,” Unger said.
Unger knew that people who suffer from arthritis respond well to water therapy, so he brought his old dog to one of his favorite places: Lake Superior.
His idea was to use the higher than average temperatures of the summer lake and let Schoep feel weightless and relaxed.
Given the grim prognosis from the vet, Unger also called his photographer friend, Hannah Hudson, to see if she had time to capture a photo of Schoep in that special moment.
Hudson joined them at the lake for about five minutes and snapped some pictures. A few days later, on August 1, she uploaded her favorite image of a man and his dog on Facebook. It became an Internet sensation.
On Thursday, the photo on her Facebook page had nearly 300,000 likes and 32,000 comments. Since the photo went viral, Unger has been trying to adjust to his sudden popularity.