A dog’s unwavering loyalty is unmatched. Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friends and stand by our side through thick and thin, no matter the circumstances. This touching story will reveal the true meaning of a dog’s devotion.
Daniel Howe, a former Air Force veteran, continued serving the community as Burnsville’s assistant fire chief, earning respect among fellow firefighters for his leadership. “He was someone the department relied on to innovate, teach, train, and keep up with the latest firefighting techniques,” said Heather Nicoletti, Daniel’s daughter.
However, due to health reasons, Daniel was forced to retire and was soon diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2011. He underwent Whipple surgery in February 2012, followed by a round of chemotherapy. Throughout his battle with cancer, one constant presence in his life was Gunner, his 11-year-old Labrador.
Gunner also never left Daniel’s side during his golden years. He was there for Daniel when he was healthy and steadfastly by his side during his cancer battle. Daniel appreciated Gunner’s unwavering support and credited it for keeping him going.
“They were best friends until the end,” Nicoletti recalled of their youth. “They were hunting companions, traveling together everywhere.” Gunner’s devotion to Daniel was unparalleled.
As Daniel’s health declined, Gunner mirrored his partner’s condition. “When her dad was nervous, the dog was nervous; when her dad was nervous, the dog was nervous,” shared Nicoletti. The gunslinger’s unresponsiveness and puffy look indicated it was time to say goodbye to their loyal companion.
Nicoletti, who worked at a veterinary clinic, quickly put Gunner to sleep. About an hour and a half later, Daniel also died, recalling the events of that day.
Daniel and Gunner were together until the end. The Gunner’s unwavering loyalty to his beloved owner goes beyond words. They were lucky to find each other as faithful companions in their needs.
Nicoletti is unsure what is more troubling for the gunman – to be taken to end his suffering or to live with his father’s death. “She believes it’s heartbreaking either way. They thought they were going together, not in hours.”
Despite being unable to say goodbye to each other, Nicoletti finds solace in that both her father and Gunner died peacefully without suffering. This touching tale is proof of the strength of devotion and friendship.