White Dog actually suggested the idea of offering our toothless Anya a bit of soft lamb treat. "Wouldn't that be mean?" I asked, "To tease her especially since she is not even eating on her own yet?" WD gave me her look, the one that says "trust me," so I reached for the special little jar next to the duck jerky.
This jar is filled with thin easily chewed and broken sticks of ground and formed lamb. It is for fixing boo-boos or a special reward...times when a little goes a long way. I broke off a piece the length of my littlest fingernail. I really did not think the experiment would amount to much but I lifted Anya into my arms and spent a couple of minutes stroking and talking to my deaf girl.
Then I held out the treat in the palm of my hand. I moved my hand to cup under her chin and let her sniff. She seemed interested. But she always seems interested. It is getting her to take the piece into her mouth, which is the stopping point. She continued to sniff and moved her face closer to it.
Then she tentatively took it into her mouth and moved it around. It fell out of her mouth and before I could catch it, Sachi has gobbled it up from the floor.
We tried again and this time I keep my hand under her chin. She worked the piece around in her mouth with pleasure and each time it slipped from her lips I would give it back but it too snuck out and Sachi claimed it.
"Third time is a charm," I whispered to Anya. She was actually looking for the tidbit this time. I closed my hand almost around her muzzle and pushed the piece back into her mouth each time it tried to escape. My girl chewed and chewed and clearly enjoyed the flavor released by the softening treat but she did not seem to get the idea of swallowing. Maybe she does not have enough control enough of her tongue (especially being toothless) to move what is in her mouth back toward her throat. This was becoming not just a bonding moment but insight into Anya's reluctance to eat by herself.
I looked over at White Dog. She tilted her nose to the ceiling and then looked at her sister. "Good idea!" I agreed and tipped the baby's face upward. Gravity did its job and the treat slid down her throat. She licked her lips.
"I think she liked it!" White Dog congratulated. "Me too."
Now we knew how to share the pleasure of White Dog Army treat time. I broke off a last tiny piece and we successfully navigated her special routine. The rest of the Army was eagerly waiting as I opened the OTHER jar to dole out strips of chewy luscious duck jerky.