The elderly but childlike Jake
The two Shih-Tzu, Brady and Oscar, were to get a scoop each of a different kind of kibble. Oscar needed a pill (hidden in a small spoonful of canned dog food) which was also offered (sans pill) to Brady. Jake got to lick the spoon so he wouldn't feel left out.
They all had their own private spaces on the extensive lawns. Jake went out back on a long leash that was chained to a porch post. Oscar and Brady had their own individual retractable leashes and use of the side yard. Jake liked to play throw and fetch. Brady and Oscar liked to bark.
They all love being with people and did not want me out of their sight. They followed me everywhere, their toenails click-click-clicking on the wood and tile floors. It sounded as though I were dragging something behind me. I'd take a step and hear ch-ch-ch-ch-ch as the three scrambled to their feet and came to see what I was doing or where I might be going. Kitchen? Oh goody, we'll come, too. Bedroom? Wait! We're with you. Bathroom? Not without us!
Jake slept on a mat in the hallway. Brady and Oscar were trained to kennel and mention of a doggy treat had them scrambling for their wire cage. I had a large bed in a large room with a bathroom just steps away. The trouble was that the room I was to sleep in was at the other end of the house from where O and B were bedded down. I was just drifting off to sleep when I was wakened by a barrage of yips that threatened to break glass.
I sat up straight up, every hair on my arms and head standing straight up with me. When I finally realized where I was and what the sound was, I crawled out of bed, dragged the kennel into my room and fell asleep to the sound of snuffles and jingling dog tags and grunts of contentment. Then at the door came a scratch and a whine. I crawled out of bed again and opened the door for Jake.
The feeding and toilet schedule for my three furry friends became routine by day three. We all slept together in peace, and wherever I went I knew that if I looked down, three faces would look back up at me. The morning I left, Oscar and Brady took one look at my suitcases and set up such yelps of protest that I was moved to tears. I took a picture of them saying goodbye - you can see Jake looking resigned to his lonely fate and Oscar pleading at the door. Brady did not want to watch me leave so he went into the living room, barking goodbye as he went.
Jake and Oscar saying goodbye
I am home now. It is very, very quiet. I sleep through the night. But I find myself looking down a lot and listening for the ch-ch-ch-ch of tiny nails on the floor.