“I’m breathing, but I can’t catch my breath. Shoep passed away yesterday.”
A dog named Shoep and his owner John Unger became world famous after a photo surfaced online in 2012 of a dog sleeping peacefully on his owner’s chest while swimming in a lake in Wisconsin.
There was a story behind the photo that caught the attention of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
Schoep, who was 19 years old at the time of the famous photograph, was suffering from arthritis.
To alleviate his suffering a little, every day John took him out to the lake. He would take the dog in his arms and go deep into the water. The water allowed the dog to relax so much that the pain subsided, and Shoop was able to nap peacefully on his master’s chest.
John Unger and his girlfriend took Shoop from the shelter. John broke up with this girl he wanted to marry 11 years ago, after which he fell into a deep depression.
«I’d like to be honest with you. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that dog. I woke up one night with suicidal thoughts. But Shoep was with me, and… I don’t know how to explain it. He literally cut me off from those thoughts. He did so much for me, the fact that I’m helping to ease his suffering in his old age is the little I can do for him,» John admitted in an interview.
The vet told John that the dog’s illness was progressing and it might be better to put him to sleep.
Realizing that he might soon lose his best friend, the man asked his girlfriend to take a picture of him and Shoop for him. She managed to take a wonderful picture that will remain in the memory not only of John, but of thousands of people around the world.
After the photo of Shoop sleeping became popular, John began to receive numerous gifts and money from all over the world for his treatment. The veterinarian at the clinic where the dog was treated was amazed that so many anonymous people were donating money.
According to him, John is a nice guy and not particularly rich. But he has done all he can for his dog, who has never been fully cured and has already lived longer than the average dog.
Popularity has extended Shoop’s life by almost a year, giving him the opportunity to celebrate his 20th birthday.
On July 18, 2013, John posted a tragic message about his beloved pet’s death: «I’m breathing, but I can’t catch my breath. Shoep passed away yesterday.»