Family and friends raced to the side of Daniel Hove, a former Air Force officer who became an assistant fire chief, after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The most reassuring was Daniel's loyal dog Gunner, an 11-year-old lab that never left his owner's side.
Despite his 90-pound weight, Daniel can be seen snuggling beside his human bed and curled up on his lap in pictures from his final years. Gunner stayed just a few inches away from what was happening.
Daniel's daughter, Heather Nicoletti, said to Kare 11 that her parents "were great friends to the end." They traveled everywhere together as hunting buddies.
So when Daniel's devoted dog fell ill as he was resting down, it was not unexpected.
His daughter explained how her father and Gunner were always in sync: "When my father became annoyed, the dog got enthusiastic; when my father got tired, the dog got restless." The dog and my father both remained silent. The dog's behavior—he wasn't moving around much and wasn't doing well—let us know what was coming.
Heather watched as Gunner's arms grew swollen as he became more and more sleepy. She remembers calling the former workplace of the veterinary clinic, and they quickly scheduled an appointment for her. My father left an hour and a half later, saying, "I hustled him up there and put him to sleep."
Heather found comfort in the knowledge that her father, a devoted mentor and friend to everyone he met as well as an excellent father, dedicated soldier, valued community member, and loving mentor, never had to say goodbye to his beloved dog. Gunner would have been equally upset by such a separation, as he couldn't bear the thought of being separated from his best human partner.
Heather continued, "I'm not sure what's going to be more upsetting for him. "If you let him live through the death of his father, or if you try to take him away to end his pain—put him to sleep." In either case, I believe it will result in his death. We sensed they would work nicely together. We simply were unaware that they would be separated by several hours.
Heather said, "Gunner could not exist without my father. I believe he chose to accompany him.