August 2019. My 8-year-old Great Dane Ripley died. We bought her as a puppy before we had kids. She was very dominant, very stubborn, very strong, and very well trained. She was a family dog, and when we had kids, became a nanny dog. Ripley went downhill very quickly, over 10 days or so. I heard her trying to stand up in the morning, but she could not. My husband and I carried her outside where she lapped up slobbery mouthfuls of cold water. She stared off into the yard, breathing short laboured breaths. I went inside because the kids were up and calling me. Soon I heard the crows cawing outside, and I knew before going out to see for myself. She died right there in her own backyard. We carried her body into the car and drove her to the vet, where it took four people to get her out. She had been a 155 lb dog before she got sick. We found our favourite pictures of her, collected her favourite toys, her collar, and her brand-new dog tag. We held a memorial for her in the backyard. My husband and I told stories about her and cried. We did all this for the kids, but they were maybe too young to fully comprehend. Turned out, it’s what we needed. We grieved fully and deeply. And then I felt at peace.