Aerie – A Great Dane

28 Sept 2010 – 27 Feb 2020

Late in the afternoon of Thursday, February 27th, 2020, our sweet, aging (she was 9 years, 5 months old) Great Dane Aerie, had a seizure and flopped to the floor in front of the fireplace, coincidentally, upon one of her favorite dog beds… I had JUST given her one of her favorite peanut butter flavored dog cookies and told her how pretty she was. She stiffened out, gasping twice, before she went silent and stopped responding to my voice or touch. She had stopped breathing and her heart was stilled… In what seemed like the blink of my eye, she was gone…

As absolutely traumatic as this was for me, I can only say that I am so glad that she did not go through this on her own. It is my hope that she knew I was there with her, talking to her, petting her, and that she did not feel alone. I cannot, I will not, believe that she suffered, as it happened so fast and she did not cry out.

You dog people out there will understand that there are dogs, good dogs, and special dogs. Aerie was simply one of the most special dogs we have ever known.

She was everyone’s favorite. She was so intelligent, so vocal, so gentle, and so affectionate, that she made a special impression on all who met her. She would “hug” me goodbye every morning as I left for work. She would greet me in the garage – she somehow almost ALWAYS knew when I would walk in the door – with her prancing, dancing, rubbing, leaning, and licking, acting as if I’d been gone for weeks when I just was returning from my day at work.

She watched television and listened to music with me. When there was a dog on a film or TV show, when there was running, violence, gun play, or even raised voices, animated dialog, or shouting, she would run to the television, barking and squawking…until it concluded.

I simply cannot write any more about this now… I am still in shock and the sense of loss is enormous. I don’t know what I’ll do without her! I am at such a loss without her in my life…

She is the dog that I will morn until the day I pass… I love you, baby girl!

Above, getting some lovin’ from grandson Logan; she was EVERYONE’S favorite

In one of her favorite spots, listening to Pink Floyd with me… She
almost always was within a few feet of me when I had music on…

Here is a link to a video of her playing with her most favorite toy
ever, that orange ball seen in many of these photos, from February of 2018…


What follows is the tale of how this extraordinary canine came
into our lives, to share nearly 9 years of joy and love with us…

Meet Aerie

On Thursday, December 23rd, 2011, just 6 short days after the tragic and untimely loss of our beautiful male Giant Schnauzer Toryn, Kim and I left Elkhart at 4:00 PM. Our destination was Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our goal was a 15 month-old black Great Dane named Aerie.

We arrived exactly at 6:00 PM and met a very nice and petite young woman named Jasmine. We soon learned that Aerie had been victim of a family break up due to a forced move. She had shared a home with another Grate Dane, a harlequin named Duke, as well as a Rottweiler and a fourth dog. Jasmine obviously cared very much for Aerie, but with her work schedule and no fenced in back yard, this gentle but large and playful girl had to be crated 11 hours a day.

We had taken our Giant Schnauzer Lily (4 years old) with us, as we needed to make sure these two ladies had no personal issues, and once it was clear that they were okay with each other, we had Lily take the front seat, and Kim and Aerie sat in the back of Kim’s Ford Explorer Sport Trac.


Strolling on a calm, sunny, winter day at Robert L. Nelson Dog Park

The drive home was rainy and cold, and Aerie soon placed her enormous front paws and head on Kim’s lap and took a nap. After a short and uneventful drive home, we arrived to find a house full of people.

Our son Cade and daughter Skye were home from Purdue for Christmas break, and they had picked up three of our grandchildren, Owen, Lanie, and Ava, as well as invited some friends over. Though she was nearly as tall as Owen, her gentle attitude left them all only smiling and happy to meet and play with her.

On Friday, her first full day with us, she went to meet Dr. Tom, our Veterinarian. He was able to go through her records, all of which I’d entered into a spreadsheet, pretty rapidly, as well as give her a personal exam. He was just as quick to pronounce her to be, at least as far as he could ascertain without the results from any tests, in pretty excellent health, and to be a pretty fine example of her breed. He gave her some vaccinations, and we were homeward bound.

It was while I was preparing the spreadsheet analysis of all her paperwork that Kim and I noticed something most uncanny; Aerie was born on Toryn’s first birthday, September 28, 2010!

On her second day with us, I took her for a walk through our neighborhood, along with Lily. We use Don Sullivan’s “The Secret to Training the Perfect Dog” program, and so I had one of his command collars on Aerie. She didn’t pull, bolt, or struggle at all during this entire first walk on a leash! She was such a well-mannered girl. We were quite pleasantly surprised to see her immediately respond to sit, and down, and to rapidly and FREELY accept commands to stop, wait, and get off. She is so smart, and so quick to learn.

One of her favorite spaces, at least when her “mom” is at work, is on the big, suspended dog bed we have at the back of our theater in the basement. It is a four-posted arrangement, with a cloth suspension, and two over-sized dog pillows. She has made that her space in the basement, so whether I’m watching a film with Lily sleeping on the couch beside me, listening to music in my high performance audio room, or working at my desk, she plops her big frame across this bed and naps.

Sleeping on a very comfy bed at the back of the theater, with legs like a White-tale deer!

On a jaunt at the dog park

Playing with another patron of the park

This view of her leading Kim to the park gate gives you some scale…she’s a big baby

Our pretty girl posing in the winter sun at RLN Park

Quite the pretty sleepy head…