(This is a republished post. The original was posted in October 2012. I am republishing in honour of Shoep’s up and coming 20th birthday, which he will celebrate in 7 days time)
Stories of animals always warm my heart – one that fastened in my heart his year is the story of Shoep and John. Earlier this year John Unger asked a photographer friend to take a photograph of his 19-year old dog Shoep because he felt that he would not live much longer. His dog was in great pain and he felt it was a matter of days before he would have to have him put to sleep. He carried his dog into Lake Superior every evening during the summer because it was the only way to ease the pain of his arthritis and allow his beloved pet to sleep. He stood in the water with Shoep in his arms for hours almost every day so that the dog could have some relief from his pain, and fall asleep in his arms (the buoyancy of the water took the pressure off Shoep’s aching bones). The photo became an internet sensation, going viral. Check the original photograph and the number of likes and shares here – as of today the photo has been liked 350 407 times and shared 214 473 times.
This led to huge interest in Shoep and John. Donations to help Shoep poured in from around the world, and so far almost $30 000 dollars have been raised. Shoep now has a special bed, foodbowls and a special medical regime to reduce his pain and rejuvenate his joints. This wonderful doggie has a Facebook page here where his 120, 000 followers can see his treatments and his daily life. Thanks to laser therapy for his arthritis, Shoep is now able to go for daily walks and nose around nice smelling things. Look at the smile on that beautiful face during his laser treatment – he loves it so much he goes to sleep before it is over!
John rescued Shoep (who had been abused) as an 8-month old puppy. Later Shoep saved John’s life, and John has said that since the moment Shoep saved him from death, he has devoted his life to Shoep. Shoep now has a foundation called Shoep’s Legacy, where the unused money from donations for Shoep’s treatment will be used to benefit animals in need. Please join me in wishing Shoep a very happy 20th birthday!