It’s no coincidence that out of all the animals on this planet, dogs are the ones referred to as man’s best friend. The bond owners share with their dogs is unshakeable… one that at times cannot even be broken by death.
Air Force Veteran Daniel Hove and his loyal dog Gunner spent a lifetime of adventures together, but when Gunner realized the end was near for his beloved owner he just couldn’t face a life without him.
Credit: Heather Nicoletti
Daniel Hove was a much-celebrated firefighter who started his career in the Air Force and later continued serving his community of Burnsville.
“He was someone that his department really relied on to innovate, educate, train and keep up with the new firefighting technique,” his daughter Heather told Kare 11 News.
Unfortunately, the heroic firefighter and veteran was stopped in his tracks after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011 and forced to retire in 2012. When Daniel first received his cancer diagnosis, he was surrounded by all his loved ones, including his dog, Gunner. In fact, Hove’s 11-year-old pooch almost never left his side. It was clear that they were inseparable.
Sadly, Hove’s condition seriously deteriorated during his final years. But even though Gunner was a 90-pound dog himself, the pair was always cuddled up together.
“They were best buddies till the end. They were hunting buddies, they went everywhere together.” Hove’s daughter, Heather, told Kare 11.
The pair were inseparable, so it came as no surprise that when Gunner fell ill, Hove entered his final days.
Credit: Heather Nicoletti
Heather said one day she looked at Gunner and knew he was about to give up the fight. Then the day that everyone was dreading came. The family knew that it was only a matter of time before they had to let Gunner go be at peace.
She told Kare 11 News,
“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 was coming.”
“I called the vet clinic I used to work at,” she said, “they got me in right away and I rushed him up there, put him to sleep. And about an hour and a half later, my dad was gone too.”
Understandably, the veteran’s daughter was heartbroken over her father’s death, but she was thankful that he didn’t have to suffer losing his companion at the very end. She believes that her father’s illness was what broke Gunner’s spirits, and ultimately, his health since the two couldn’t bear to be away from one another.
“I had said I don’t know what’s going to be more traumatic for him,” To try to take him away to end–to put him to sleep– to end his suffering, or if you let him live through dad dying. I think either way it’s going to kill him. We knew they were going to go together. We just didn’t know it was going to be hours apart.”
“Gunner could not be without my dad,” Nicoletti added and said. “I think he chose to go with him.”
At least they had each other in their final days. And it must have been a comfort to their family to know that they were together in heaven.
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