Bentley and My Tango Dress

My little dog, Bentley, has been sick for a while now. He has something called non-erosive IMPA Which stands for immune mediated polyarthritis. It’s like a form of lupus in dogs. The erosive form of IMPA is similar to rheumatoid arthritis in humans, but he’s got the non-erosive version form of it. He’s had it for a while, he was officially diagnosed with it back in September. Since then we have been working with the doctor to get the medications right. This is a lifelong disease and will have to be on medication probably for the rest of his life. The medications he’s on are pretty heavy duty.  He was on prednisone for a while and prednisone for long term is not good, It’s got an awful lot of bad side effects. So the doctor has been working with him trying to somehow reduce the dosage by adding other medications. One of the medications is used in cancer patients and it comes with purple plastic gloves. I panicked when I first saw this but now I’m OK with it. He’s also been on other medications to somehow try to reduce the dosage of prednisone then in January of this year (I think), the doctor changed the prednisone for another steroid, I’m not sure the name but we call it DEX. The dosages and timing of the medication was pretty complicated so I ended up making a spreadsheet so that I could keep track of everything and everything was going fine. He would have his off days but for the most part it was working.

A few weeks ago we noticed some changes in him, he wasn’t quite as playful as normal (and I have to say that with the different medications he has been on, he has been up and down with his playfulness, but this time it seemed a bit different).

This week things seem to be different. He was having trouble laying down, if I picked him up and touched his left side on his belly, he would scream. He was also panting a lot and drinking an awful lot of water, actually, an excessive amount of water. The steroids can make him very thirsty and they can affect him overall. It got to the point where he wouldn’t lay down, or he couldn’t lay down. He would just stand and stare into space. He was eating OK but I knew something was wrong. I took him to the doctor on Thursday and they prescribed gabapentin for him, which is a pain medication. They gave him the first dose by injection and I gave him a second dose in the afternoon, which he seem to have taken just fine. Then later I brought him outside, he was urinating a lot (this has been going on for awhile)  which is another sign of side effects of the steroids. I couldn’t find him and then I found him laying under the holly bushes and panting. Somehow I managed to coax him out of there and then later on I had to give him the third dose of gabapentin. He wasn’t taking it easily so I gave it to him with turkey and he seemed to have taken it.

That night he woke me up about 1:30 in the morning and he was panting excessively. I took him outside to go potty, somehow I got him back inside and we just spent the night up. I decided to wait until 7:30 in the morning when the Vets’s office opens.

Bentley seemed to be deteriorating quickly, So I called the vet at 7 AM and left a voicemail to say that I’m coming in at 7:30 a.m. either to them or to emergency because something needs to be done. At 7:30 AM they called me and said to just bring him down. Trying to pick him up to go into the car was very painful for him and he was screaming but I had to do it. I brought him in and he was very lethargic. He looked as if he had a severe infection in his eye, I’m not sure what that was, but it seemed to be getting worse from the day before and then this morning it was just horrible. He looked as if he had mange.

So I left him at the doctor’s and I was on the phone all morning and afternoon with everyone that works there and also the doctor. I had the option to pick him up or leave him there overnight and pick them up in the emergency room, Or one of the staff members would drive him to their other location in Dallas so that he could be cared for over the weekend, which is what I chose to do.

So this morning Dr. Cook gave me a call from Dallas and Bentley was not doing well at all. She wanted to put him on intravenous to help hydrate him and run some tests but needed to check with me first and of course, yes, I agreed to further testing. Then Dr. Cook gave me a call and in her testing she found that he was in diabetic ketoacidosis and he needed insulin and to stay on intravenous. He will be there until at least Monday so they can regulate him. He also has the complication of IMPA, but Dr. Burney should be able to figure that out along with the insulin injections.

So since there’s nothing else I can do but sit and wait I just started decided to start working on my ladies tango costume. We are all going to wear red but we can all have our own style of dress. So today I started draping some Lycra to try and figure out exactly what I want to do with my dress.

I don’t use good fabric for draping, but for something that is going to be with a stretch fabric you have to drape with a stretch fabric so that the pattern will work with the stretch fabric when I make the dress out of the good fabric. Did that make sense? It does to me, anyway…

So this is what I came up with, so far.

First, I just drape the fabric on my dress form and then I stand back and look at it, this usually takes a few days to place it on the dress form and think about it (and actually I did start this last week). Then I take one of my fabric markers and I start marking the lines that I want to cut and sew on.


The hardest thing is to cut the fabric, but today that’s what I did. So far I’m happy with it.

Next, I draped the actual fabric onto the dress form. On the white test fabric I was putting some ruching. I played around with some different necklines and decided on the one shoulder neck line. On the test fabric I was liking the ruching around the hips. From the side lower bust bust down to where the ruching and the slit starts, there will be a nude insert.

So I cut the fabric for the pattern pieces and so far I’m liking it.

Then I put the red sequin fabric on it and I actually like the way it looks without any ruching. I will also put the decorative edge along the nude insert that goes from the bust down to the ruching. I think that the sparkly red fabric is enough and the ruching would just be overkill.



This was a good diversion from all of the problems with Bentley today. I also took Pippa for a long walk, I think she is lonely and she knows that something is going on with Bentley.

Today I was supposed to work at the Fort Worth Zoo for their spring break at MOLA, but as it turned out I was not able to do that because I had to be here to talk to the doctor for Bentley, and I was on the phone on and off for about five hours today discussing with the doctor what we were going to do. Tom is on his way home from the Cayman Islands, he’s been working there this whole week.

Right now I am sitting outside on the patio, it’s a beautiful day, and Pippa is sitting by the pool watching the squirrels.


I miss my little boy Bentley, but I am also happy that he is being taken care of medically, and soon he will be on the road to recovery.

Thanks for listening… somehow, writing all of this down is sort of cathartic.


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