The veteran's daughter said the family dog was in sync with Hove and even his body was recreating what was happening to the veteran.
Daniel Hove shared an unbreakable bond with his loyal dog, Gunner, so much that the pair passed away within hours of each other. Daniel Hove, an Airforce veteran turned assistant fire chief, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011, and throughout the whole ordeal, which included many rounds of chemotherapy and surgery, Gunner has remained a constant. Hove's daughter Heather Nicoletti said the pair shared a really close bond. Gunner, the 11-year-old labrador, could always be found within a small radius from Daniel Hove. Many family pictures show Gunner lying in a bed across Hove's bed during their final days. There are also photos of the dog curling up on his lab and lying next to his bed.
“They were best buddies until the end. They were hunting buddies, they went everywhere together,” said Daniel’s daughter, Heather Nicoletti, reported Kare11. It didn't come as much of surprise when Gunner started to fall ill as the veteran's condition deteriorated. Everyone in the family felt Gunner was aligning himself with Hove, as it was the Burnsville firefighter that the labrador was closest to in the family. “When my dad would get agitated, the dog would be agitated, my dad was restless, the dog was restless,” said Nicoletti. She recalled how the pair's health deteriorated together in their final days. “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.”
The veteran's condition also started worsening. One day, Gunner became increasingly listless and his arms started swelling. Heather took her to the vet and decided it was best to let Gunner move on. “I called the vet clinic I used to work at,” said his daughter, “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,” she added. Heather Nicoletti had made peace with the departure of her father and the family dog, having seen them slowly say goodbye to this world. She was also happy that her father never had to say goodbye to Gunner and she felt the same about Gunner, who couldn't bear to stay away from Hove.
“I had said I don’t know what’s going to be more traumatic for him,” said Heather said. “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,” said Nicoletti, before adding, "Gunner could not be without my dad. I think he chose to go with him.”
She wants to hold a proper funeral for her Dad after the Coronavirus restrictions are lifted. She plans to hold a big ceremony with taps and full honors. His fellow veterans and colleagues at the fire station remember him fondly. The story of Gunner and Hove's bond moved Facebook users. Cathy Ferrazzo wrote: My heart goes out to the family not only for having put a dog down recently but to lose the dog and their father so close together...unreal...I'm happy they can be together because it's obvious they were meant to be. "What a beautiful story! So inspiring, knowing man's best friend is there till the end," wrote Peggy Wiedl-Wilson. Lynette Bryant wrote: What a touching story...dogs really do “know.” My sympathies to the family. The veteran's son, Chris Hove, wrote on a picture of the pair: Goodnight dad, goodnight Gunner.