First of all, I would like to thank everyone for your encouragement, personal stories and advice on my post about Penny's eating woes. I'm finding that the pet blogging community is filled with some of the kindest and most helpful people!
Not too long after the post, Penny began separating the Canine Caviar kibble pieces from the wet food, which was no small feat because the wet food crumbled into many tiny pieces that clung to the kibble like nothing else. If you are familiar with Canine Caviar, you know the wet food is basically pure meat and is only recommended in small amounts with the dry food, as it does not have the extra nutritional elements the kibble was formulated to contain.
(Did I mention that the only two flavors of wet food Penny would eat out of the three that were available to us [Turkey, Venison, Duck--there was no Beaver at our local store] were the Venison and Duck meals? She would literally turn her nose up at the Turkey version. Looks like someone's forgotten about her humble beginnings, hee hee hee.)
John finally broke and brought home a 5-lb. bag of Acana Pacifica as Penny is a huge lover of fish. The one and only time she's ever tried to snatch food out of my hand was when I was eating a dried, salted, extremely pungent fish from Thailand. This stuff is STRONG--my sister called it "elephant butt hair" fish when we were younger--but I love it. Penny went wild-eyed nuts over it, so we thought a fish-based kibble might be the way to go.
We actually wanted to get Acana Pacifica when we were testing out foods a few weeks ago, but the shop owner didn't seem to believe in it so we passed. We didn't even have to open the bag before Penny was sniffing it with the same whites-of-the-eyes showing enthusiasm she showed me with my dried fish. Since I had heard that some dogs had a hard time digesting Acana because of its richness and the formula change they made over the summer, we transitioned very slowly. The suggested transition time is 5-7 days, but we went for 10 at the suggestion of Dog Forum members.
Penny's now been on the Acana for a few weeks, and seems very happy eating it. We're going to cycle through all of the Acana Regional diets so she hopefully won't become bored again. A couple things about Acana:
1. Pacifica is quite smelly, even to the most seasoned of dried fish/fermented fish paste/fish sauce eaters.
2. You will notice, three or so weeks after starting the diet, that your dog suddenly has more energy. Not hyperactive energy, but good energy.
A note on #2: I always took the Orijen/Acana lovers statements of their dogs having more energy with a grain of salt. In our case at least, it's been true: Penny just has more of an "up and at 'em!" attitude about everything, and it's not in a bored dog/hyperactive way. So, count us in for one more shining testimonial of, "Acana gave my dog more energy!"
Do I recommend the food? Penny seems to be doing well with it, but with all that we went through, I don't think there's one magic bullet. In fact, I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop on the new diet--hopefully it never happens. But if it does, I have so much great advice you all have given me to fall back on. :)