Tag Archives: bacchus

Goodbye to Our Best Friend

It has been a tear-filled day. With unspeakably heavy hearts, it pains me to say that we put Bacchus to sleep today. We have been fearing this day for the last nine months, when he was first diagnosed with lymphoma. The chemotherapy pushed him into remission for several months, which we are very thankful to have. It gave us an opportunity to take him camping and on several hikes again this summer. He was happy and energetic again. Perhaps not quite his old self, but close enough for us all to forget for a while.

His cancer relapsed about three weeks ago. We went through a “rescue protocol” to try to kick it back into remission. It seemed to work for a couple of weeks, but in the end it was too much for him. He completely lost his appetite, and was unable to process any sustenance. The vet did not believe he was in pain, but he was clearly in discomfort. He has been vomiting again for several days now. The oncologist said there wasn’t anything more we could do for him, so we decided to take advantage of a pretty day to take him out for one last walk and a trip to the dog park while the boys were still in school.

It feels as if a light that has brightened our lives and warmed our home for as long as either of us can remember has been extinguished. A lot of people feel that their dog is special. Lara and I are no exception, and feel it as keenly as anyone. He was our family for almost 9 years. He brought more joy to our lives than we ever imagined a pet could do. He brought a smile to everyone’s face. For years, when we walked down the street in our neighborhood, children and adults alike, who did not even know our names, would shout, “Bacchus!”, and come rushing over to pet him.

The boys are taking it pretty well. We let them say goodbye, and dropped them off at a friend’s house so we could both take him to the vet. Clearly, they don’t understand what has happened, but we’ve told them all about “doggy heaven”, and the huge field that Bacchus is now running through and the pond that he can swim in all day. I’m hoping that repeatedly explaining this to the boys will serve as some sort of perverse therapy, and help us to process our grief.

We met Bacchus at a farmhouse in the summer of 2003. He slept under a dog house as we were introduced to his brothers and sisters. We were pretty much settled on adopting his chubbier and more docile sister, but just as we were about to leave, he woke up and grabbed us as if to say, ” What about me?” We played with him for a while, but drove away intending to adopt his sister. Something was eating at both of us though, so when we got home we called the breeder back to say we had changed our minds and wanted to adopt the puppy we knew simply as “Kelly Green” (the color of the collar he was wearing – which by the way remained the color of his collar for the rest of his life).

He was a near perfect dog from the start. The only thing of ours that he ever chewed was a few socks, and he never once even attempted to jump on a piece of furniture. Even house training only involved a few accidents. Before we knew it, he was ensconced in our hearts and we could not imagine our lives without him. He was a constant companion on our numerous backpacking trips. All we had to do was pull out his backpack, and he would launch into a frenzy. He had the energy to hike all day long, and yet was perfectly content to lay by your feet (or on Lara’s lap as she sat on the floor) all day when you were under the weather. He greeted us at the door every day, tail wagging furiously.

He had his quirks, to be sure. We’ll always remember his “puppy crazies”, his love of opening wrapped packages, and the way he would run in endless circles at the feet of any visitor to the house. He would spread his legs out to the side as he slept like some sort of furry amphibian. He would whimper and twitch his legs as he dreampt nearly nightly. He had to be in the middle of any hug. As with many dogs, he  loved chasing bunnies and squirrels, and was passionate about swimming. Most of all, he just made you feel good.

Goodbye Bacchus. You will forever be a part of our hearts, and we thank you for being the best friend we could have hoped for.

Gotchya Day

September 16th marks one year since we brought the boys out of the orphanage in Karachev. In adoptive families, that’s known as “Gotchya Day”. We celebrated by taking the whole family out for a hike in the mountains, and then meeting up with some friends at a local park for cake, presents, and play time.

We also spent a little time watching videos from a year ago. Can it really have been a year? It really jumps out at you when you see how the boys have developed and grown. From the video in the kitchen in Bryansk where Evan is saying “Ya hochu peet” (I want something to drink), to the scene on the little trikes outside the orphanage where Alex has no idea what the pedals are for, wow – what a year it’s been.

We don’t have enough time to put together a thoughtful posting commemorating the moment, but we thought we’d at least mark the occasion and share a few pictures from the day. Enjoy!

Jefferson Lake

We ventured out for our second family camping trip. This time, we went to Jefferson Lake, which is on the east side of the continental divide from Breckenridge. We were again with our friends Matt and Michelle with their twin girls, and their friends Paul and Gretchen and their two children. The weather wasn’t as cooperative, but a good time was had by all nonetheless.

We tried a little more fishing, and this time Evan stuck with it for a good while. It helped that the fish were biting. The only problem is that our hooks were too big, so the fish just kept nibbling the bait off. Evan loved it though.

The highlight of the trip was the boys first boat ride. Matt and Michelle brought their inflatable kayaks, and everyone took turns tooling around the lake. I took each of the boys out on my lap. They were both giddy. It’s just too bad I couldn’t get my camera on the boat with us. I’m sure the looks on their faces were priceless.

We had all the typical camping activities, including a torrential downpour Saturday afternoon. We got to test out the vestibule in the tent, until a river started flowing around us. The good news is that the tent is indeed waterproof. The rain moved out just in time to get a fire lit and roast a few marshmallows.

All the fresh air didn’t have the effect on the boys this time. They slept OK, but not nearly as long as the first trip. It’s all good though. They’re handling sleeping in a tent very well, and were sad to head home Sunday morning. Hopefully we’ll get one more trip in before the end of the summer.

Camping at Turquoise Lake

We joined some friends and two other families at the Silver Dollar campground north of Turquoise Lake, just outside of Leadville for a two-night camping adventure. This was not only the boys first-ever camping experience, but it was also the first time that either Lara or I had “car camped” in 15 years. It was a learning experience for us all!

We crammed the car with all our gear early Friday afternoon and made the drive up to Leadville, which is at roughly 10,000 feet, with the hopes of escaping the record heat wave expected in Denver for the weekend. We were successful, although it was still in the mid-eighties, which is extremely hot at that altitude. Unfortunately, the weather predictions were a little off for the weekend, so we mostly had warm clothes for the boys. They ended up wearing the same shorts and t-shirts all three days. You can see just how dirty they are in some of the pictures.

The campground was surprisingly nice. The sites were fairly large, and tucked into some older pine trees, so you felt like you had a little bit of privacy. The amenities weren’t too luxurious, but at least there was a flushing toilet and drinking water available. We weren’t totally roughing it though. All of us had nice cushy air mattresses to sleep on inside our cavernous tent, and we dined on steak and BBQ chicken dinners from a shiny new Coleman camp stove.

The boys didn’t know quite what to think, but they were excited nonetheless. It took them a little while to figure out that there were still rules at the campsite. Once they got that down, we had a good old fashioned family camping weekend, complete with s’mores around the campfire. It didn’t occur to me that the boys had never seen a fire other than from a candle, let alone sleeping in a tent, or peeing in the woods!

I think the dirt was the star of the show. The camp sites were loaded with this fine, powdery black dust that coated and stuck to everything. In looking at the pictures of the boys, coal miners and chimney sweeps come to mind. They played with their trucks in the dirt, chased after bugs, and even spent a little time playing with the other kids.

They did alright sleeping in the tent. It helped that they were staying up almost 2 hours past their normal bedtime. With the long days this time of year, we had to wait until almost 9:00 just to get the fire started. Friday night they expressed a little concern over how dark it was when we put them to bed, but they cashed out after 15 minutes or so.

By Saturday night, they were exhausted. Alex crashed in Lara’s lap sitting around the fire. Even Evan said he was tired, and only complained mildly when we said it was bedtime. Sunday, they slept until 8:10. That’s easily an hour and a half later than normal. I guess exercise, excitement, and fresh air will do the trick.

Both boys were begging to go camping again on the ride home. We have another trip planned in 4 weeks. I think we’re all looking forward to it!