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Duke is learning to love life - including baths!

Duke was terrified of everything when he arrived at the RSPCA’s centre in Cambridgeshire - but he’s starting to learn that not everything is so scary!

A collie who was so terrified of water that he had to be cleaned using dry shampoo for two months has finally had his first proper bath - and even enjoyed it!

Six-year-old tricolour border collie Duke was taken in by the RSPCA’s Block Fen Animal Centre, in Cambridgeshire, in February.

RSPCA officers had concerns about his welfare and the conditions he was being kept in at his previous home in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, and after trying to work with his former owner he was signed over to the charity’s care along with two other collies.

Animal care assistant Serena Moore has been caring for him since he arrived just over two months ago.

She said: “Duke and his four-legged friends were kept in poor conditions and he was really underweight. But he’s put on 4kg in our care and is getting better day-by-day.

“His coat was heavily matted and urine stained. It took me weeks to dematt his coat and I found lots of wounds underneath the fur so I suspect he’d been picked on by the other dogs.

“When he first arrived he stank so he really needed a bath. I turned the tap on and he froze, he looked like he would die of fright.

“For two months I just used dry shampoo and carefully brushed and groomed him. I slowly started to introduce him to water and teach him that it wasn’t scary.”

Finally, on Friday (30 March) Serena managed to give Duke a much-needed and long-overdue bath (pictured): “And he even enjoyed it,” she said.

“When he first arrived here we couldn’t get near him, he was so frightened and nervous. But I’ve spent a lot of time gaining his trust and learning to understand him.

“Now, two months later, he completely trusts me. He’ll let me clip his claws, groom him and now we’ve even overcome the water fear!

“I’ve gradually introduced him to more and more people and, although he’s still worried of new people, he is much more accepting and after a few games of fetch they’re soon best friends.

“Duke has come a long way over the last few months but he still has a long way to go.”

Staff have been keeping him in a quiet kennel block - away from the public - as he was getting so stressed in the normal setting that he was making his paws sore trying to get out of his run.

“He’s happier in the quiet block but, unfortunately, it means no one is able to see him when they come to look at our dogs,” Serena, pictured with Duke, added.

“Duke has impeccable recall and won’t leave my side! He’s a wonderful dog who has so much potential - he just needs a calm and patient owner who is willing to put in some time and help him become the amazing dog he can be.”

Duke is looking for a rural home in a quiet area with a large garden to enjoy. He walks nicely on the lead and likes walking with other dogs but would be best as the only pet in a new home.

He needs some further training and house training, and would like an adult-only home with owners experienced in owning collies and with the time to help him develop, grow and reach his potential.

“Once Duke gets to know you, he really will be your best friend,” Serena said. “He will want to spend all of his time snuggled up on the sofa with you or playing fetch.

“I’ll be so sad to say goodbye to Duke as we’ve become incredibly close - but I can’t wait for him to find the perfect family to take him home, he really does deserve it.”

For more information about Duke see his online profile or contact RSPCA Block Fen by calling 0300 123 0726 or emailing blockfen-inbox@rspca.org.uk.

To support the RSPCA and help the charity continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming dogs like Duke please donate by visiting www.rspca.org.uk/give.

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