“Okay, ladies,” I say, “and I use the term loosely, it’s time for lunch. Do any of you need to use the yard before we eat?”

This request is met with blank stares.

“Are you hungry?” I ask.

This question is answered with an impromptu dance from Taylor who shimmies so forcefully she practically knocks me down. The other two look interested, but noncommittal. The feeding ritual begins.

As Pansy ages, she eats less and less. She’s 11 now. I serve her bowl to her as she lays on the couch. I can drag her off the couch but this just serves to aggravate her and then I have to follow her around with her bowl. If I let nature take its course, Roxy and Taylor will eat her food and she will die of starvation. That’s not true. She eats enough treats to keep her fed.

The afternoon is very quiet as all three of the dogs sleep. Roxy is in her crate. If I let her roam free and I lay down on the couch, she would casually perch on my head to look out the window or follow me to the bathroom.

Actually all three dogs follow me to the bathroom and then wait for me outside the door in the cramped hallway. What do they think goes on in there?

“We thought you were playing with some other dogs in there,” Pansy tells me.

“Yeah,” Taylor says. “And they get better food than us.”

Roxy just laughs. She’s sure I’m afraid to go anywhere by myself. That’s what dogs are for.