Butch is once again celebrating suppertime, and I couldn't be happier. He won't stick his muzzle into his food dish (maybe it's painful?), but he happily lets me put food in his mouth one spoonful at a time. I had stopped feeding him crunchy kibble sometime last year, but now I'm softening his meals even more. If the next step needs to be mush, we'll do that, too. As long as he's happy and his gum condition isn't going to cause him to starve, I'll do whatever needs to be done to keep him comfortable.
If you can call this comfortable:
Levi is now on Day 5 of crate confinement and is doing remarkably well. I haven't noticed any limping when I let him out for potty breaks, which is a very good sign since most of his limping was happening right after he'd been resting. I thought he'd go nuts inside the crate, but he's occupying himself with naps and toys. In fact, when I bring him back into the house after we've gone outside, he heads straight for the crate and walks right in it with no coaxing from me.
He's also being very good about letting me put the drops in his ears, so I have high hopes that his ear infection will be cleared up in short order.
Thanks to all of you who expressed your concern. My boys are both doing well, and I am SO relieved.