MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of Minnesota’s most beloved pets has passed away. Schoep gained national attention after a photo of him and his owner in Lake Superior went viral. He was 20 years old.READ MORE: Pedestrian Struck And Killed In Rosemount
A message posted on the Schoep and John Facebook page said simply, “I breathe but I can’t catch my breath … Schoep passed yesterday, more information in the days ahead.”
Schoep was a lovable shepherd mix, who lost his sight to cataracts and struggled with arthritis and hip problems.
We first met Schoep after a photo of him and his owner, John Unger, went viral last year. The two were captured floating in Lake Superior — a typical routine for a dog owner who wanted to find joint pain relief for his beloved four-legged friend.READ MORE: Twins Sign Right-Hander Dylan Bundy To $5M, One-Year Contract
Letters, support and thousands of dollars quickly poured in from around the world — all finding a connection with Schoep and his owner.
The more than $10,000 in donations had been used for a weekly laser therapy to stimulate old cells in Schoep’s body. The cells then reproduced faster, reducing swelling and pain.
The treatments bought Schoep and John one more year together.MORE NEWS: Suspect In Waukesha Parade Says He Feels 'Demonized'
Nearly 130,000 people have followed Schoep’s story on his Facebook page.