When Daniel Hove, an Air Force veteran turned assistant fire chief, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his family and friends rushed to support him. Daniel’s devoted dog, Gunner, an 11-year-old lab who seldom left his owner’s side, was the most supportive.
Despite being a 90-pound dog, photos of Daniel’s last years show him cuddling by his human bed in bed and curling up on his lap. Gunner made sure he was never more than a few inches away from whatever was going on.
Photo: Facebook/Heather Nicoletti
“They were great friends to the end,” Heather Nicoletti, Daniel’s daughter, told Kare 11. “They were hunting buddies that accompanied each other everywhere.”
So it came as no surprise when Daniel’s faithful dog became unwell while he was resting down.
“When my father became agitated, the dog became excited; 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 unconscious. We knew it was coming when we observed how the dog was going–he wasn’t moving much anymore and wasn’t doing well.
Heather decided it was time to put Gunner down when the elderly dog became increasingly listless and his arms began to swell. “I phoned the vet clinic where I used to work, and they got me in straight soon, and I hurried 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 idea that, as heartbroken as she was at losing her father — a wonderful parent, devoted veteran, cherished community member, and devoted mentor and friend to everyone he encountered — he never had to say goodbye to his beloved dog. Gunner, who could never take being apart from his best human buddy, would have been similarly traumatized by such a separation.
Heather explained, “I don’t know what’s going to be more traumatic for him.” “To attempt to take him away to end–put him to sleep–to stop his misery, 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 live without my father.” “I believe he chose to accompany him.”