By in Animals

Their Names Were Schoep and John

Much can be learned from the story of friendship of Schoep and John Unger.

It was a story that touched my heart when I first read about it and saw a photograph of the two of them taken by Hannah Stonehouse Hudson a couple of years ago in the Huffington Post, which went viral.

( )

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It had been only a few months since my stage IV cancer diagnosis and surgery. A few months since I was given a year-long prognosis for life. A few months since my friend, Sue, came back into my life after 15 years of silence. A few months since I had climbed aboard the mammoth emotional roller-coaster that life had deemed to be its vehicle of choice for me.

And it had been a few months since life, love, and hope had been restored to me in so many areas of my life.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Schoep was older and ailing. He was no longer able to run and jump around as if he were a kid. He was not always able to protect his owner, as if he were in his prime. There were good days, but there were more bad days. All Schoep was able to be was himself.

John stepped up and simply loved Schoep when his friend needed him most. He loved him for all the heart, personality, goodness and joy that Schoep had to offer. And John loved Schoep in spite of the things that he was not or could not be or do.

When others might have walked away from Schoep or had him euthanized when the situation became burdensome, John simply loved Schoep for all he was able to be.

When John did not have the finances to pay and was unable to afford the medical bills to care for Schoep, he considered having him euthanized to put him out of his pain. Even so, Schoep simply loved John for all he was able to be.

When this story went viral, Schoep's life was spared because of others who heard or read their story and gave out of love. And Schoep and John were able to continue on their journey together. They simply loved each other without concern about what the other could not give, but for all they were able to be.

On Wednesday, July 17th, 2013, Schoep passed away. Not only did John Unger mourn the loss of his friend, many who knew their story mourned, as well. Each of us can relate to the pain of losing one we love.

And each of us can learn the lessons of love and friendship that Schoep and John taught by their example. An example that went viral within a year of its telling three years ago.

Whether it be a four-legged friend or another human being, may we all find a loyal friend who will be there and love us through to the end. May we all be the kind of friend who is accepting and loving when things are not always fun or we have to give (what seems to be) disproportionately.

May we always remember this: The gift we have to give to our friends is simply the freedom and power to BE.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: On the same day that Schoep passed away, I received an email from my friend ending our reconciled friendship with, "I need to say goodbye." Through grief and sadness of the loss of this friend, I simply love her for all she is able to be. I owe many thanks to John Unger and Schoep for teaching me this lesson by their heartwarming example.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Update on John Unger: In February 2015, John and Bear found one another, and one can follow their journey on the Schoep and John Facebook page.

Visit Schoep and John's Facebook page:

Copyright © 2015 Coral Levang. Adapted from original written on July 19, 2013 and published on Bubblews; removed by author.

- - - -

Image Credit » by gtbb

You will need an account to comment - feel free to register or login.


wolfgirl569 wrote on December 19, 2015, 9:27 AM

I had heard a little about that story but not a lot. When it first started I did not use facebook very much so I missed it. But a dog is the purest form of how love should be and we all could learn so much from them

CoralLevang wrote on December 19, 2015, 10:09 AM

I think you would like his FB page. I think RuthCox would, too. I really like Unger, and hope he writes a book someday.

RuthCox wrote on December 19, 2015, 10:40 AM

I do like it, thank you for tagging me, CoralLevang

RuthCox wrote on December 19, 2015, 10:42 AM

I will be following Bear and John now, although I had not heard of John Unger before this. It is heartwarming to know that John and Schoep touched your spirit when you needed it most. I can certainly identify with their story.

CoralLevang wrote on December 19, 2015, 10:58 AM

If you haven't read the story on HuffPost...hope you do.

RuthCox wrote on December 19, 2015, 11:11 AM

Yes, I did, thank you, and liked and shared on Facebook on my Dog Pawsitive Tidbits page. (Your link to your PP article too!)

DWDavisRSL wrote on December 19, 2015, 12:37 PM

The story of Shoep and John is a touching story. I have learned from painful experience that sometimes we have to let our four-legged friends go, though, because to do otherwise subjects them to a life of pain and misery simply to keep ourselves from having to say good-bye.

CoralLevang wrote on December 19, 2015, 12:45 PM

Thank you, so much, Ruthie. emoticon :smile:

CoralLevang wrote on December 19, 2015, 12:46 PM

It is sometimes more difficult to let go than the 2-legged ones. At least the 4-legged are unconditional.

markgraham wrote on December 20, 2015, 1:16 PM

The picture reminds me of the pictures in my basal readers I had in school. Anything that shows true friendship is a keeper.

CoralLevang wrote on December 20, 2015, 1:20 PM

Those books were something that I wish I had nowadays.