When Daniel Hove, an Air Force veteran turned assistant fire chief, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his family and friends rallied to support him. Daniel’s loyal dog, Gunner, an 11-year-old lab who rarely left his owner’s side, was the most supportive.
Despite weighing 90 pounds, Daniel can be seen cuddling up on his owner’s lap and alongside the bed in pictures from his later years. Gunner made sure to keep himself no farther away than a few inches from the action.
“They were best friends until the end,” Heather Nicoletti, Daniel’s daughter, told Kare 11. “They were hunting buddies who accompanied each other everywhere.”
So it came as no surprise when Daniel’s faithful dog became ill while he was lying down.
“When my father became agitated, the dog became agitated; when my father became restless, the dog became restless,” his daughter recalled, recalling how her father and Gunner had always been in sync. “Both my father and the dog were unresponsive. We knew it was coming when we saw how the dog was doing–he wasn’t moving much anymore and wasn’t doing well.
Heather knew it was time to put Gunner down when the old dog became increasingly listless and his arms began to swell. “I called the vet clinic where I used to work, and they got me in right away, and I rushed him up there and put him to sleep,” she explained. My father was gone about an hour and a half later.”
Heather found comfort in the knowledge that, despite her heartache at losing her father, who was a wonderful dad, committed soldier, adored community member, and devoted mentor and friend to everyone he encountered, he never had to say goodbye to his beloved dog. Gunner would have been as distraught by such a separation because he could never stand to be apart from his best friend in the human world.
“Heather explained, “I don’t know what’s going to be more traumatic for him.” “To try to take him away to end–put him to sleep–to end his suffering, or if you let him live through his father’s death.” In either case, I believe it will kill him. We had a feeling they’d go well together. We just didn’t realize it would be hours apart.”
“Heather stated, “Gunner could not exist without my father.” “I believe he chose to accompany him.”