by Terri Johnson Florentino
It’s said a picture says 1000 words, but this picture seems to have said so much more. John Unger’s picture of him tenderly floating his aging and arthritic dog Schoep in Lake Superior became an instant Internet sensation in 2012 and resurfaced recently upon Schoep’s death:
So what is it about the human-animal bond that so intrigues us? Is it our inherent desire to love and comfort? Do we believe we are better people if we allow ourselves to feel the unconditional love of an animal? Does it help us to feel better about ourselves when we help an innocent creature? Is that why it’s often said in canine rescue, “who saved who?” At what point do we put too much pressure on our pets to comfort us? Are we guilty of anthropomorphism, or the projection of human motives and behaviors, when we feel loved by and loving toward animals?
So tell me, what word comes to your mind when you look at the picture of the man with his dog?