Hair of the Salty Dog

I'm one of "those" people. You know the ones. The crazy people who talk about their dogs the way other people talk about their kids. The kooks who spend thousands of dollars on doggie daycare so that Daisy or Rex won't be home alone. The people who allow their dogs on every couch and bed in the house, take them to holistic vets 45 minutes from their home (Doc Gurney at Aspen Park Veterinary is a miracle worker), and generally treat them as significant others. I even enrolled my Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Bacchus, in a herding class, because I wanted him to live out his working-dog heritage. I know that many of my friends and family members feel that such pet love is a pathetic psychological replacement for children — yet I've never wanted children and always wanted dogs. But last Friday, my companion of more than ten years, six surgeries, countless emergency trips to the vet and boundless love died. Being one of "those" people, I sent an e-mail to some friends of the two-legged variety, letting them know of the death of the only male companion whose relationship with me had survived an entire decade. To properly honor Bacchus, my friend Bill suggested that I have some "hair of the dog." Since Bacchus and I had logged some serious time on patios around Denver, following Bill's recommendation I headed to the Spot, a spot as dog-friendly as it can legally be. I ordered a Stoli Salty Dog ($5.50) made with Stoli vodka, grapefruit juice and a salted rim — and raised my glass to Bacchus, thanking him for the joy and companionship he gave me all these years.

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