Man’s Best Friend Goes Viral
We’re not talking about a picture of a cute dog you’ve shared on your friend’s Facebook wall because you are dying to have a purse puppy like Paris Hilton or a funny dog meme you pinned on Pinterest. This time, social media has shared something truly heartwarming.
We are talking about a simple photograph that has gone viral and struck the heart strings of the entire online community. Viewed four million times, shared 150,000 times, and liked just as many times, if not more, man’s best friend has made a significant impact on social media.
John Unger was doing what he does everyday- taking his dog, Shep, to the lake around his house in Bayfield, Wisconsin. What happened next was a combination of the talent of a photographers’ eye and an act of true love.
Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, a photographer from the area, was taking photos of the area when she spotted John and Shep. She saw John remove Shep’s leash and slowly pick him up, then begin walking into the lake. She started snapping. What resulted was a beautiful picture of man and dog- best friends until the very end.
Shep is a 19 year old dog that was abused and left at the pound as a puppy. John found and rescued him and has been taking care of him ever since. They have spent almost two decades together, forging a bond most of us only wish we could with our pets and friends.
Shep has arthritis and has trouble sleeping. So to ease his pain, John takes him for a dip into the lake everyday. “The buoyancy relieves the pain or at least some of it so he is relaxed.” John explains. Often Shep will finally get some rest and fall asleep in his arms in the middle of the lake. When asked what Shep means to him, John couldn’t contain the tears and choked out that he can’t even put it into words. But by the end of the interview he finally finds a way to sum up his feelings about his relationship with his best canine friend, “You give love and that love will return ten fold.”
“They are two amazing beings and if you can take anything from this photo, take love from it- pass it on to other people.” Hudson explains. The magic of the heart, the innate human-urge to share, and the ease and popularity of social media have combined to create a socially viral photograph that is sure to live on our computer screens for years to come.
To meet Shep, John and Christine you can find the video on CBSnews.com.