Dalla had a bit of a misadventure in the not too distant past and she is still paying for it today.

On the last day of July, which was a Sunday, Sarah and Dalla were out hiking on one of the local hiking trails. Dalla was running free since there weren’t any other people or dogs around, while Sarah hiked along the trail. After their hike, Sarah and Dalla got back into the car and came home to eat breakfast and get started on their day. Shortly after arriving back at the house, Sarah noticed that Dalla had a good sized cut on the upper part of her right front leg. The cut wasn’t bleeding, but Dalla was licking at it. Sarah wasn’t sure if the cut rated emergency vet treatment, so she got in touch with one of our neighbors who is also a dog owner to get her opinion.

They huddled about the problem, and decided to disinfect the wound and bandage the leg with dog-friendly bandages since it didn’t seem to be bleeding and Dalla didn’t seem hampered in any way. Then, on Monday, Sarah would take Dalla in to the vet to get a professional opinion.

Monday morning rolled around, and Sarah took Dalla in to the vet. The vet decided that Dalla needed stiches to close the wound, which meant that Dalla needed to spend the day at the vet’s office because she would also get anesthesia to knock her out during the suturing.

When Monday afternoon rolled around, I stopped by the vet to pick up one slightly woozy Elkhound mix. The vet said that Dalla wasn’t allowed to lick the wound, so she needed to wear an Elizabethan collar. Dalla decided rather quickly that she wasn’t going to wear an Elizabethan collar, so the vet suggested that a kids size T-shirt might also fit the bill.

Well, we don’t have many kids size T-shirts around the house. Probably because we don’t have kids. Anyway, once we got home, I needed some way to fashion a T-shirt that Dalla could wear until Sarah came home. I couldn’t take Dalla to the store because it was hellishly hot that day and I couldn’t leave her in the car. At the same time, even if it had been cool, I couldn’t leave her in the car because she would lick at her wound while I was in the store. I couldn’t leave Dalla with Sarah because Sarah was on a long bike ride with her riding club. So, I took Dalla (and Maya, another dog we were dog sitting) into the basement for some T-shirt hacking.

First, I grabbed one of my old T-shirts that I got at MacWorld Boston 1995. I tried it on her to see how it fit. “Badly” is the word that best described its fit.

I’m not sure how much experience any one else has in modifying human clothing to fit a dog, but I had none. Looking at the T-shirt I could tell that it was too big in almost every direction, but it wasn’t immediately obvious how to fix it. Sure, I could cut off a bunch of fabric to shorten the shirt, but that wasn’t going to make it tighter around her chest. And, yeah, I could sew the shirt together in such a way to make the chest tighter, but then I had to deal with the fact that the arm holes and shoulders were still ten to twenty sizes too big. How was I going to fix that problem without sewing them or the head hole shut? dalla_t_shirtAfter some extensive fitting on my unwilling and uncooperative model, I managed to use scissors, sewing machine, and safety pins to produce a serviceable, but ugly dog T-shirt. I even managed to save enough of the front so that Dalla’s back (she wore the T-shirt backwards) still showed the MacWorld slogan from that year. Eventually, Sarah got home, we had dinner, and went to the store to get some smaller shirts. Again, if you haven’t been shopping for dog T-shirts, it isn’t easy. Most kids clothes aren’t sold with suggestions for fitting them to dogs. All the kids clothes generally appeared to be about the same size, so it was a good thing that Sarah measured Dalla before we left. Using those measurements, we were able to determine that Dalla wears boys size small T-shirts.

For all of last week, and all of this week, Dalla wanders the house in a modified Hanes T-shirt. She seems completely oblivious to the whole affair. She scratches at it once in a while, but other than that, she seems resigned to her role in bringing the torn white T-shirt back into the American fashion mainstream.