Thanks to everyone for their support from the start... The first few days of using Maya have been enlightening, and challenging. I'm slowly starting to get used the program... in many areas its nearly identical to Max, and in others its completely different.
IE. to make a mirrored copy of an object with smoothed proxy set up in Max is fast, however once you learn how to do the same thing in Maya, you start to understand the power that this app has under its hood.
Back to the project at hand, its also a coincidence that this is my first 4 legged model ever... so it's been a shakey start. I'm still not happy with my mesh... I may start again, but we'll see.
BTW: A handy tip for everyone else out there. Though i'm sure there's a lot of animal anatomy reference on the net, I found and invaluable, and incredibly cheap book thats a must have for the modeler types, "How To Draw Anaimals" by Jack Hamm.
Its a deceptively novice sounding title, but the author does an incredible job of breaking down animal anatomy, giving examples of motion and small details. For instance, not only is the shape of paws and hooves of many animals given, but for the elephant he shows the varying number of toenails that African Bush, African Forest and Indian have. Fur colouring, proper striping of tigers... skeletal structures.
The book was only $14 canada, the back lists it at $10 US. Sorry for the sales pitch, but its been a great resource to me, so I hope someone else can find it useful.
Anyway heres my struggling WIP.