Bernice from Singapore was kind enough to leave a comment and I do so very much love to hear from all readers, especially the international ones who I remain so curious about. Thank you Bernice!
So, here's my favorite update thus far. A couple of nights ago Alvin kept attempting to get up the stairs to my bed. It is difficult for him because of his weak back knees but after trying several times I decided to help him and I plopped him up with me and he quickly laid down and went to sleep. This put me in a precarious position because I feared that if I moved he would get scared and jump off and I wanted him to stay and see it wasn't so bad up there. I went through all kinds of awkward movements to eventually put my computer on the floor and turn off the lights but I managed to do so without alarming him. He ended up staying for a good part of the night with his face right near mine. I couple of times I woke up to see him there and forgetting about him being leery of having his head petted, I reached over and stroked the top of his head and he didn't so much as stir. In those moments I took note of how normal it all was. In the morning when starting to stir, Alvin stood up and came over and licked my nose, which guaranteed him several treats throughout the day. The second night he stayed up on the bed for about four hours and would have stayed much longer but my blind foster dog, Stevie was in the kitchen and has figured out how to get on her hind legs and push the rolling food bin until it tips over, which then releases the lid and food goes everywhere. She has done this several times in the past and so for the past month I have been living with the food bins on my kitchen counter, which I didn't want to do anymore so I had just put them back on the floor that night in hopes that she had forgotten. She obviously didn't and when we all went out to see what had caused the commotion there was food everywhere and Alvin was in utter heaven! I got the food scooped up, minus what the three blissful dogs had consumed and Alvin was much too excited to go back to sleep in my bed. Progress is coming more everyday and he often comes to me for me to scratch him under his chin. My second favorite update is that I can finally understand Alvin when he signals me that he needs to go outside to go potty, which allows me to leave the back door closed except for when we go to bed or when I am gone. Even though it's California, it's cold here and so I am appreciative of being able to close the door now. Alvin's way of letting me know that he has to go potty is to go to the door and then run back towards me with a look of panic. I have learned to decipher it from the other times he runs and looks panicked. During his potty run he looks like it's an utter emergency but I have learned to open the door and then sit back down again because if I stay standing up or don't go back to the couch he won't go out because he's so fearful he might miss out on something. After realizing that everything is status quo he goes out and goes potty. What I knew from the beginning is that Alvin communicates but it's up to me to read the language.
Speaking of communicating, Alvin's eyes are still watering quite a bit and it dries and then hardens on his face. I have to take a warm washcloth to get it off, which sends his teeth into instant chatter mode and so I try not to do it too often and to do it fast when I do it. The other day after washing his face there was still a clump of hardened stuff and I gently pulled on it and a whole clump of hair came out and left a bald spot on his face and there were little pin pricks of blood. When I did it Alvin winced and it had to hurt but he didn't yelp like most dogs would do. I don't know that Alvin can vocalize when he is in pain, which makes me even more protective of him. Of course I felt horrible and every time I see his little bald spot I could just die, but we are learning together and unfortunately Alvin often gets the wrong end of the stick.
While hanging out with Alvin today I realized that this is a little being without an ounce of malice, anger, jealousy, or even defensiveness. My personal dog, Timmie loves people more than any other dog I have ever known. He loves strong and hard and his love is so much that I have to feed him right next to me because no matter how hungry he is, if I walk away he follows. He will always choose affection over even his favorite treat. With that said, he will growl at other dogs, is tremendously jealous, and has even been known to scrap with a dog that irritates him. My other foster dog, Stevie is also just a love and is content to spend every minute sitting next to me and when I leave the house she will lay out in the rain waiting for me. But like Timmie, if attacked she will fight back and will growl when another dog tries to get into her food. Then there is Alvin who does not seem to have the capacity to fight under any circumstances, will allow other dogs to take his food, and when trapped, picked up, or feeling in any way threatened, it doesn't seem to dawn on him to do anything to defend himself or fight. He doesn't even bark. There is such a quiet gentleness about him that makes him completely precious. He is so full of love and tenderness that it's difficult to imagine that someone did not treat him well or ignored him for the first part of his life. When people meet him they can't help but notice that there is a special quality to him that unfortunately for Alvin makes people want to touch him. I took him over to meet my aunt the other day at my mom's house and she, not knowing, began to pet him on his head and he stood there and allowed it. My mom and I sucked in our breath and my poor aunt asked what had just happened. My first reaction was to say, he's yours! He will allow people to pet his head only when outside but when confined in a house, particularly a house he hasn't been in very often, he has never allowed such a thing. Of course in the mixed up Alvin way, he allowed her to repeatedly pet his head but then when he realized she was a safe person he started his usual ducking and darting behavior. I have never met a dog that runs towards what he is afraid of and once he realizes it is safe does then retreats. Whatever the case, he kept staring at her and was clearly very interested in her and it made me know even more that this dog is going to be just fine. I think for Alvin, he makes instant connections with certain people. I have seen this at the dog park and he will hone in on one person. Yes, sometimes they are the person with the dog treats but he clearly picks his person and I think he will pick his adopter more than they will pick him.