Veteran and His Loyal Dog Pass Away Within Hours Of Each Other

When Daniel Hove was diagnosed with carcinoma, family and friends rallied to assist the Air Force veteran-turned-assistant fire marshal navigate this difficult time. But nobody was more supportive than Daniel’s loyal dog, Gunner, an 11-year-old lab who rarely left his owner’s side. Photos of Daniel’s final years show the loyal pooch snuggling beside his human bed in bed and curling abreast of his lap, despite being a 90-pound dog. Regardless of what happened, Gunner made sure he was never quite a couple of inches away.

“They were best buddies till the top ,” Daniel’s daughter, Heather Nicoletti, told Kare 11. “They were hunting buddies, they went everywhere together.” So, nobody was surprised, really, that when Daniel Lay lying, his loyal dog suddenly fell ill, too. “When my dad would get agitated, the dog would be agitated, my dad was restless, the dog was restless,” his daughter said, remembering how her father and Gunner had always been in sync. “My dad was unresponsive, the dog was unresponsive. So once we saw how the dog was doing–he wasn’t moving much anymore, not doing well– we knew, it had been coming.”

One day, because the old dog grew increasingly listless, and his arms started swelling, Heather knew it had been time, sadly, to place Gunner down. “I called the vet clinic I want to work on ,” she said, “they got me in directly and that I rushed him up there, put him to sleep. And about an hour and a half later, my dad was gone too.” But as distraught as she was about losing her father — a loving parent, loyal veteran, beloved community member, and a faithful mentor and friend to everyone he met — Heather took comfort in the incontrovertible fact that that her dad, at least, never had to mention bye-bye to his beloved dog. Such a separation would are equally harrowing for Gunner, who could never bear to be distant from his best human friend.

“I had said I don’t know what’s getting to be more traumatic for him,” Heather said. “To attempt to take him away to finish –to put him to sleep– to end his suffering, or if you let him get over dad dying. I feel either way it’s getting to kill him. We knew they were getting to go together. We just didn’t realize it was getting to be hours apart.” “Gunner couldn't be without my dad,” Heather said. “I think he chose to travel with him.”
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