Dog whose dip in Lake Superior touched millions dies at 20

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Schoep the dog, whose image stirred the hearts of people around the world, died this week at his Bayfield, Wisconsin, home.

Schoep and his owner, John Unger, were photographed last summer floating in Lade Superior together in a ritual that Unger said relieved the arthritis pain of the elderly canine. The simple and poignant image captivated many thousands of people as it made its way online.

Unger announced Schoep's passing on his Facebook page Thursday.

Fans of the pair had sent about 1,000 cards wishing Schoep well on the occasion of his 20th birthday last month.

It was nearly a year ago that the photo by Hannah Stonehouse Hudson became an Internet sensation. Supporters donated thousands of dollars that helped pay for care to minimize Schoep's pain. Unger graciously accepted the attention and the gifts, while knowing that his days with his dog were limited.

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Photo of man cradling aging dog in Lake Superior strikes chord online

A photo of a Bayfield, Wisc., man swimming with his aging dog in Lake Superior has found a huge following online. The photo shows John Unger cradling his 19-year-old shepherd mix, Schoep -- who suffers from arthritis and finds comfort in the water. Photographer Hannah Stonehouse posted the photo on Facebook, and it reportedly has been viewed more than 1.8 million times.