Unger adopted Schoep when he was a puppy, but a vet recently explained that the aging dog had severe arthritis that made it too painful for him to sleep. To ease his pain, Unger began taking Schoep to the lake, allowing the water to lull the dog to sleep. Unger now does this nightly.
Unger also credits Schoep with saving his life:
The breakup with his fianceé caused Unger to enter a depression. One night, he said, he went to a breakwater in Lake Michigan off Milwaukee with thoughts of suicide.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think I’d be here if I didn’t have Schoep with me (that night). He just snapped me out of it. I don’t know how to explain it. He just snapped me out of it. … I just want to do whatever I can for this dog because he basically saved my ass.”