LAWRENCE, Kan. — At 66 years old, Daniel Brooks was enjoying retirement and moved to Lawrence, Kansas, eight months ago. Many in the neighborhood knew him as Danny.
Though he never married and didn't have children, Brooks was devoted to his dog, Bear.
"Everything at his pace," Don Brooks, Danny's youngest brother, said. "When he got up, he got up. When he wanted to get up and he went to bed, when he wanted to go to bed, and he and his Bear were inseparable."
Last Wednesday, the two walked to Dillons Food Store as they often would most mornings.
"This was just to go get a newspaper and come home," Don Brooks said. "This was nothing more to him than just getting out of the house, getting Bear exercise, and coming home."
But they never made it back. Danny Brooks was killed – and Bear injured – during an altercation outside the store.
Don Brooks said police told him the suspect had a problem with his brother's dog being at the store, saying that Bear didn’t belong. That exchange quickly escalated to the suspect pulling out a knife stabbing Bear first, then Danny.
"Danny being Danny would do everything in his power to protect his dog," Don Brooks said, "and if it was a choice between Danny and his dog, he would have, which he did, given his life for his dog."
Police arrested Robert Davis, 54, at the scene and booked him on suspicion of second-degree murder and cruelty to animals.
Bear now keeps an eye over the staff at the Lawrence Humane Society while he recovers.
"He has had someone with him 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a good portion of his life and so having things for him to watch and people to engage with him I think is part of how we've helped sort of bridge some of that loss," Shannon Wells, executive director of the Lawrence Humane Society, told KSHB on Wednesday.
The stab wound put the senior dog in shock. Once vets stabilized his vitals, they sedated and mended him.
The community raised more than $3,600 for his care, and soon Bear will be ready to leave the shelter.
"Seeing that spark, you know, is a delight for us because we know that means that there is joy for this dog ahead in his life," Wells said.
Danny Brooks' family, who visited Bear over the weekend, is weighing their options on whether they can give him a permanent home.
"I hope he knows that – in the way a dog will know – that, that his owner cared for him till the very end," Don Brooks said. "And if it comes to new owners that they showed the same love and attention."
Danny Brooks' family is planning a celebration of life for him in October, when he would have turned 67. They also started a GoFundMe campaign for funeral expenses.
This story was originally published by Andres Gutierrez at KSHB.