I was also discouraged because Bella has been inconsistent about accepting a treat from my hand. Once or twice, she even turned away. But last night there was no panting. She slept silently. And this morning it took 3 minutes instead of 6 for her to stand up and come off of her bed to eat her breakfast. She took 4 treats from my hand, one after another. (Of course, I put my hand on the floor right in front of her nose.) She rewarded me with many little butterfly kisses as she gently took one treat after another with her soft lips. Each offering was interspersed with periods of petting.
I think it has helped to follow my veterinary school friend's advice. I approach Bella from the side, looking down. I have to remember that each time I interact with Bella, I need to initiate the contact gently and indirectly. Although I go in and out of our room for various reasons daily, Bella is not yet ready for me to be casual with touch and movement. She sometimes pants when she sees me getting dressed, or simply changing my sweater. I feel better about Bella's progress when I review these blog notes- it helps keep Bella's many micro-gains in mind. If you are following this blog, you might wonder why I would feel discouraged at all given the many little advances, but 90% of the time Bella is lying in the corner of my bedroom, withdrawn. I hope I am witnessing her slow birth to a world of tiny wonders.