February 7, 2010 Duke is a completely different dog from the one who came to me at the start of the new year. He lays next to me a lot, but is no longer a velcro dog. He does not inhale his food and drink huge quantities of water like he did (side effects from the prednisone). The first few times I gave him treats I almost lost a finger. He now takes treats gently. We had some concerns about possible seperation anxiety so I only left for short periods of time. He did shred a towell the second week he was with me. After gradually leaving for increasingly longer periods I am quite comfortable leaving him alone in the house. One very early morning not long after I got Duke he woke me up very early in the am. He was pacing and panting next to my bed as I tried to get my last few hours of sleep. I thought he might need to go out, so I took him out. He still would not settle. I eventually got up and was drinking my coffee when I realized my cell phone was beeping (low on batteries) in another room. I turned it off, then a short time later he was laying calmly at my side letting me enjoy my coffee. Later in the day I let the phone beep again; sure enough that was what he was so upset about.. The phone is beeping as I write this but he is layingcontently by my side. I finally got a picture of him laying on his back. He started this a few weeks after he got here and I took it as a sign that he was becoming more relaxed in his temporary new home. At first he didn't do it often. Now, he lays like this all the time. His belly is very soft and he likes it rubbed; no big surprise. We have been to several vets to try to sort out some of his medical issues. One specialist looked at his knee and recommended a TPLO surgery to help stabilize the knee (he previously tore his ACL). They would use a metal plate to do this and the recovery will take several months. The prognosis is very good.. The vet was not concerned about his hips and said the arthritic changes are not bad for a dog of his age. He has a lot of energy even with the bad knee. He loves his walks and with a harness it is fun to walk him. Once he is recovered I believe he will be a happy, active guy. But first his teeth need to be dealt with. The dental speccialist can see at least 3 teeth that are severely damaged. The vet said his teeth are' ticking timebombs' and it is just a matter of time befoe they start to abscess. There may be other damaged teeth will be seen once he is sedated and there are dental x-rays. We are still trying to determine the best thing to do for his teeth. Hopefully, next time I do an update he will have had his dental work done. His teeth are probably quite painful. January 22, 2010 Duke is settling in to life at my house very nicely. His anxiety is much better; I am not sure if it is because he is becoming accustomed to being here or because of the reduction in prednisone. Duke is on prednisone for his allergies. Prednisone can cause some behavioral changes so we have reduced it dramatically to see if that would calm him down. Of course we may start to see signs of his allergies. We think they are seasonal so we will see what happens when it warms up. Today I took Duke for a bath at a 'do it yourself' facility. I think he would have rather been somewhere else but was quite good. He even tolerated the dryer. He now has a much brighter coat. I know it is technically called 'gold' but to me it really a beautiful shade of orange. Life is never boring with Duke. He has overcome his fear of my open basement stairs to get to the litter box. He knocked down the gate I put up so now the litter box has now been moved out of his reach; although he still goes down there to check for litter box goodies. He does like to chase the kitties, they are young and playful. I try to distract and discourage him and it seems to be improving. Sometimes he likes to have staring contests with the cats. Next week we are seeing an orthopedic specialist and a doggie dentist. He had a torn ACL earlier in his life that was not repaired. He also has some hip dysplasia in the same leg so it is hard for him to put weight on that leg. I call him my 'gimpy guy'. He is very sweet he loves petting and gives head butts when he is petted. He is very smart and I feel as though he really appreciates all that everyone in GRRoW is doing for him.