Acting Up – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Wait! Am I? No. Yes. No. Who am I? What is going on?

Me:  Stella! What is wrong?

Stella:  Nothing. Everything.

Me:  Stop bouncing on the bed. Settle down!

Stella:  I am settled down. No, I’m not. Jump. Jump. Jump.

Me:  Why are you doing this? What’s the problem?

Stella:  I don’t have a problem. You do. You do.

Me:  I’m not the one jumping on the bed.

Stella:  Well, maybe you should be. It might make you feel better.

Me:  Here. Does that feel better? If I rub your shoulders like that…

Stella:  Well, yeah…ooh, yeah, that’s better. Just keep doing that.

Me:  So what’s wrong?

Stella:  The humans are crazy.

Me:  What’s new about that?

Stella:  Nothing, but it makes it hard for me to go to sleep.

Me:  You go on to sleep. I’ll stay up if need be.

Stella:  You’ll do that?

Me:  Sure. I do it all the time.

Stella:  Wow. Okay. Just let me know if you need help handling crazy humans.

Me:  All right, Stella. Good night.

Stella:  It’s a good night if you say so, Lady Human.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

When You Make Up Your Mind – Conversations with Stella and Miss Sweetie

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Okay, Sweetie, in or out, one direction or the other.

Miss Sweetie:  Hmmm.

Me:  Make up your mind.

Miss Sweetie:  I don’t have one of those.

Me:  A mind?

Stella:  See, Lady Human, I told you.

Me:  “Make up your mind” just means you decide something. Don’t halt between two opinions.

Miss Sweetie:  What if I go outside and I don’t like it? It’s a little windy.

Me:  Then come to the door and I’ll let you back in.

Miss Sweetie:  But what if I come back inside and inside is boring?

Stella:  Then sit around and be bored until next time.

Miss Sweetie:  I’m not sure about this mind making thing. I’ll just sit right here in the doorway until I get a mind.

Stella:  Nope. We’ll be waiting too long for that. The house will fill up with flies and skeeters.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Sunbathing Beauties – Conversations with Stella, Wiggles, and Miss Sweetie

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Wiggles and Sweetie won’t come inside, Lady Human. They’re laying around like big ole pigs.

Me:  The sun is out. The temperature is moderate. Bulldog sunbathing weather.

Stella:  It’s weird.

Wiggles: Just because you don’t like the sun doesn’t mean we don’t.

Miss Sweetie:  Sun, sun, come to stay. Rain can go the other way.

Stella:  If sun is so good, why isn’t Doodlebug out here?

Me:  He was out here earlier. He doesn’t stay too long. I think he gets hot fast.

Stella:  Then why don’t I like it?

Me:  To each her own.

Stella:  Well, I’m going in. Come on, Lady Human.

Me:  I think I’ll sit out here for a while. The air is fresh. The sky is clear. There is no wind.

Stella:  So, I have to go sit inside the stale, sunless house alone?

Wiggles:  Nope. Doodlebug will keep you company.

Miss Sweetie:  Yeah, y’all can be stale and sunless together.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Meaning of the Word “No” – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Potty time!

Stella:  Do you have to announce it like that?

Me:  Apparently. Hey, Sweetie, the door is this way. All the way out.

Miss Sweetie:  I’m sniffing over here.

Me:  No, it is going outside time.

Miss Sweetie: Later.

Me:  No, now. Do you know the meaning of the word ‘no’?

Miss Sweetie:  Mmmm, no.

Wiggles:  I know what it means. It means we do what we want.

Doodlebug:  And when you say that word, it means keep doing what we are doing.

Stella:  I think you should forget about that word. It is short and annoying, and nobody here understands what it means. Find another word that everyone likes and use that.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Sky Is Falling! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human! How could you let this happen?

Wiggles:  Pieces of the sky are falling on us! Make it stop!

Me:  That is snow. A rare event here, I’ll admit. But not a disaster. And you still mistakenly assume that I can change or stop or start anything I want to just because I want to.

Stella:  You are too modest, Lady Human. We all know how this human thing works.

Wiggles:  Yes, we have all seen light fly out of the ceiling when your fingers touch the wall.

Me:  There is an explanation for that.  You see, there are wires…

Miss Sweetie:  Nope.

Doodlebug:  The white sky stuff is landing on my back! I can’t go to the potty like this!

Me:  That could prove to be a problem.

Miss Sweetie:  NO! Take it away!

Me:  It’s not even sticking on the ground. The ground is too warm.

Sweetie:  And what is the white sky stuff when it hits the warm ground? Fake rain!

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Bulldogs Eat the World! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What do we want?

All:  FOOD!

Stella:  When do we want it?

Doodlebug:  Yesterday!

Me:  What is going on here?

Stella:  Don’t interrupt us, Lady Human! We are demanding expanded bulldog eating rights! What do we want?

All:  FOOD!

Stella:  When do we want it?

Miss Sweetie:  I have no idea.

Stella:  What do we want?

Wiggles:  CAT POOP!

Stella:  Whoa there, Wiggles!

Me:  Each of you ate three times today.

Stella:  Not good enough! Bulldogs eat the world!

Me:  Sorry, you are going to have to postpone that.

Stella:  What? How long?

Me:  A good long while.

Stella:  Well…all right. We still get three meals a day though, right?

Me:  Sure.

Stella:  Phew! I thought we had fouled that up.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Guessing Game – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human! I’m waiting!

Me:  Waiting for what?

Stella:  Guess.

Me:  No, let’s not play that game today.

Stella:  I like this game. Guess. Guess. Guess what I want.

Me:  Uhm…potty?

Stella:  Uhm, let me think about that. Uhm, nope.

Me:  A good long nap?

Stella:  Been there, done that.

Me:  Food?

Stella:  Always. You know the path to my heart.

Me:  You already ate your allotment for the day. Sorry.

Stella:  You need a hint.

Me:  You’ve turned your back to me.

Stella:  Hint.

Me:  Oh, back scratch?

Stella: Close, but no dog treat. Scratch my rear end. Was that really so hard?

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Furniture Mover – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, you had better come in here and see this.

Me:  Uh-oh. That’s never good. What? Wiggles!

Wiggles:  Hhmmm?

Me:  Not again!

Wiggles:  I was just standing here, minding my own business…

Stella:  No, you weren’t. You were minding the cat’s litter box business.

Me:  How did you even…we moved that furniture…those heavy wooden boxes…those shelves…

Wiggles:  Where there is a will, there is a way. Isn’t that what the humans say?

Stella:  She slid those shelves over just enough so she could enter the secret cat space.

Me:  Smart. Annoying but smart. Now we are going to have to find something even more stout to stop this. Meanwhile…

Wiggles:  Aw, no, don’t shut me out of my favorite room.

Me:  You can go in my room. Until we figure this out, you can’t be loose in the cat box area without constant supervision.

Wiggles:  Aw.

Me:  You pushed the limits one time too often.

Stella:  Yes, Wiggles, if the humans need their furniture moved or the cat box cleaned, they will call someone.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Bark Off! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Wiggles:  Oh, go tell somebody else! I’m tired of hearing it!

Stella:  Who do you think you are? Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges? No! Because that would be me!

Doodlebug:  Stop the loud chitter-chatter!

Stella:  I never chitter or chatter! Your mouth is bigger than everybody’s.

Doodlebug:  THANK YOU!

Me:  What is all the noise about?

Wiggles:  NOTHING!

Stella:  WIGGLES STARTED IT!

Wiggles:  I SURE DID!

Stella:  THIS IS A CONTEST! WHO WON, LADY HUMAN?

Me:  Miss Sweetie did. She kept quiet in the face of tremendous temptation. You win, Sweetie. I’ll have to find you a trophy.

Miss Sweetie:  Something large and edible, please.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Humans Are Acting Up Again – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human! Lady Human!

Me:  I’m here. You don’t have to shout.

Stella:  The humans are acting up again.

Me:  Again? Did the humans ever stop acting up?

Stella:  No, but I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. Make them stop.

Me:  Is this about the big booms?

Stella:  Of course.

Me:  It’s one of those big holidays again.

Stella:  How many big holidays do you all have? It seems there is one every few days. And then things get loud and there is running around and…

Me:  And there are special foods and good smells and new treats…If you are patient, it will settle down in a few hours.

Stella:  I would be willing to settle down now if you had some new treats to share.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Fluffy Little Things – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, the fluffy little things are sad.

Me:  You mean the silkie hens? No, not sad. That is just their going to bed talk.

Stella:  That noise sounds sad to me.

Me:  Would you rather they barked like bulldogs?

Stella:  Can they? I can teach them.

Me:  They won’t ever have voices like you all. Their throats aren’t big enough. Squawking is about the loudest they will ever get.

Stella:  Oh, that grating, annoying noise they make for no reason?

Me:  They make it for a reason, just the way you make noise for a reason. Not a reason I always understand, but a reason.

Stella:  Finally, you understand!

Me:  I understand that we all have things to say. Like when the birds sing. Or when the squirrels scold and chatter.

Stella:  Oh, no. Squirrels don’t ever say anything worth listening to. I’ll listen to the fluffy little chicken things anytime over a squirrel.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Hiding Gifts – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, whatcha doin’?

Me:  I am hurriedly wrapping packages at the last minute before…

Stella:  The little human comes? Yay! But why are you hurrying? Why is it last minute? Is this one of those things you were supposed to do but didn’t do because you were too busy being lazy?

Me:  Well…let’s change the subject.

Stella:  Why are you hiding the gifts in paper? Is the little human supposed to chew her way through? Is this a human training exercise so she can learn to hunt for food?

Me:  No, it’s just colorful and decorative and makes the gifts more surprising.

Stella:  Why not bury them in the ground and let her dig them up? That would be surprising.

Me:  Yeah, and a quite a bit dirtier.

Stella:  And what do you do with the paper after? Eat it?

Me:  What is this with you and paper eating?

Stella:  Just trying to put a bulldog twist on your human ways.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

And the Bulldog Medal Goes to… – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human!

Me:  I know. I see it. She did it again. And that took some doing.

Miss Sweetie:  I saw the whole thing. I want to try that.

Me:  No.

Doodlebug:  I would have done it by jumping on my back legs. I am talented that way.

Me:  Nope.

Wiggles:  How come everyone is staring at me?

Me:  I wasn’t gone that long. I just did a little last minute grocery shopping before the stores closed. And what do I walk in to find?

Wiggles:  What? It sounds exciting.

Me:  Wiggles, we had this discussion a few days ago. NO SNACKING OUT OF THE CAT LITTER BOX!

Wiggles:  All I did was hop up on the big wooden box that you all rudely put in the way and I balanced on the narrow board on top until I could climb over the cat carrier prison and from there it was a short jump behind the small bench and there I was.

Stella:  I hereby award the first ever Bulldog Medal to Wiggles for exceeding tenacity, refusal to give up easily, stubborn pigheadedness, and ingenuity in the face of human obstacles. Congratulations, Wiggles!

Wiggles:  Is there a prize? Can it be a trip to the cat box?

Me, Stella, and Doodlebug:  NO!

Miss Sweetie:  Aw.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Cat in a Bag – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human! A weird thing is happening!

Me:  What is going on in here?

Stella:  Something pretty weird.

Me:  When is there not something weird going on? Weird is our middle name.

Wiggles:  The cat. The cat. The cat.

Miss Sweetie:  She is wearing a bag. It is so funny. Make it stop.

Me:  MoonCat, you are wearing a bag. How did this happen?

MoonCat:  Meow. What bag?

Me:  Your hind legs are in a plastic bag and the rest of the bag is wrapped around you.

Doodlebug:  Cats in bags! Easier to carry!

MoonCat:  I’m alright. I am just resting here on one of my thrones.

Me:  Come here. Let’s get that thing off of you.

MoonCat: I am fine.

Me:  There. It’s off. How did you get wound up in a plastic bag?

MoonCat:  It looked like fun at the time.

Stella:  Things weren’t weird enough today, so MoonCat helped that out.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Sweater Weather – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What are you scheming there, Lady Human?

Me:  Scheming? That’s not very nice. What do you take me for?

Stella:  A schemer, just like all humans. You are always planning to clip our toenails, get us to take medicine disguised as treats, clean our dirty ears…

Me:  Then you do admit that your ears are dirty…

Stella:  No, of course not, not dirty at all. What do you have in your hand and don’t you dare put it on me.

Me:  It’s that really big sweater I crocheted for you a few years back.

Stella:  That’s what I thought. Take it away. I am a bulldog. I don’t wear things like that.

Me:  But it’s getting colder and I thought…

Stella:  You thought wrongly as usual. I will tuck into my covers for warmth, free and naked. Why are you smiling?

Me:  I never think about dogs being naked, but I guess you are.

Stella:  How rude!

Me:  Hey, you’re the one who brought it up.

Stella:  Even so, no excuse for rudeness.

Me:  Well, alright. I’ll just add the sweater to your blanket pile on the bed. I did find this other sweater on sale…

Stella:  Nope.

Me:  It fits closer than the other one…

Stella:  Nope.

Me:  You might like it…

Stella:  Nope.

Me:  I just thought…

Stella:  What are those big word books you humans use?

Me:  Dictionaries?

Stella:  Yes. You should get one. You don’t seem to understand what the word ‘nope’ means.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Frost – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, something is wrong with the world. There is cold white stuff all over the ground. Clean it up.

Me:  That’s just frost. Our first frost this season.

Stella:  It is cold, and it is making my toesies wet.

Me:  It won’t last long. Once the sun hits It and the temperature rises, it will disappear.

Stella:  Are you being lazy?

Me:  Not this time. It will disappear on its own. I’ll bet you don’t remember, but the day before you came to us, we had a big snowfall, big for us that is. Inches deep and it stayed around for a day. Frost is nothing compared to snow. And that was the last snow we’ve seen since then. Maybe we’ll see some this winter.

Stella:  And it covered the ground?

Me:  Yup.

Stella:  And it was cold and wet?

Me:  Yup.

Stella:  And it was way deeper?

Me:  Yup.

Stella:  Nope. You can keep that stuff to yourself.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Racing the Rain – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Come on, Stella. Outside. Now!

Stella:  Yeah, yeah, coming.

Me:  No, now! The rain is here.

Stella: Whatever you say.

Me:  Do you like to potty in the cold rain?

Stella:  Cold? Rain? Potty? No!

Me:  Hustle, hustle then.

Stella:  Why didn’t you warn me?

Me:  I thought that’s what I was doing.

Stella:  Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

Me: And in again.

Stella:  Phew! That was close! I need a towel. You humans need to schedule rain on a more convenient timetable.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Wiggles the Wayward Bulldog – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Where is Wiggles? 

Stella:  Why do you want to know?

Me:  Wiggles! Wiggles! I heard muffled barking when I was unloading groceries. But the barking has stopped. I know we didn’t leave her in the yard. Wiggles!

Miss Sweetie:  I am simply sitting and staring.

Doodlebug:  Me, too.

Me:  Wiggles!

Stella:  Tall Man is home. Maybe he can help.

Me:  I can’t find Wiggles.

Tall Man:  I’ll search outside.

Me:  I’ve run all through the house. I’ll get in the car and drive around. How could she have gotten out? If she would just bark again…wait.

Stella:  Now you’re thinking.

Me:  Can’t possibly be…

Stella:  Sure it is.

Me:  Wiggles, how did you get back there?

Wiggles:  It wasn’t all that hard for someone determined.

Me:  I don’t believe it. I put up a wall and all kinds of obstacles to keep you out of the cat box area. How did you…There is that plastic wall, a bookcase, a piano bench. The cat carrier, a stack of cardboard boxes…

Tall Man:  She must have moved the plastic wall.

Wiggles:  I’m not revealing my secret.

Tall Man:  Well, here is another heavy wooden box for a block.

Me:  And couldn’t one of you all have given me a hint where she was?

Stella:  Are we Wiggles’ keeper?

Wiggles:  I barked because I got trapped and because there were no more cat snacks.

Me:  Gross! Nasty!

Wiggles:  There are wonderful treats the cat hides back there. Why do you all make them so hard to reach?

Me:  Because they are not good for you! And I thought you were lost.

Wiggles:  I’m sorry, Lady Human. That you were worried about me, not about raiding the cat box treats.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Weird Ways of Wiggles – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I have a problem, Lady Human, and I need your help.

Me:  Okay, shoot.

Stella:  Why would I shoot a problem? Isn’t that how you humans get in trouble? I don’t need more trouble, ma’am.

Me:  I didn’t mean you should shoot literally. I meant…oh, never mind. What’s your problem?

Stella:  Wiggles is weird, and I don’t like it.

Me:  Please be more specific.

Stella:  She has made yet another bed when she already has three. And where has she done this, you ask.

Me:  I didn’t but go ahead.

Stella:  On the kitchen floor. And what has she used, you ask.

Me:  Once again…

Stella:  She has taken all of your plastic bags and made a pile and is sleeping on them.

Me:  Not the first time, but I will take care of it.

Stella:  No, don’t do that! She’s sleeping.

Me:  But you are acting like it bothers you.

Stella:  It does.

Me:  And you don’t like it.

Stella:  I don’t.

Me:  Then…

Stella:  No one should have their sleep disturbed just because their bed is weird and in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Grumbler – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Grum…grum…berrr…grum…grum…grum…

Me:  Okay. I hear. What is all this grumbling about?

Stella:  What grumbling?

Me:  Stella, the sounds emanating from your throat! That grumbling!

Stella: Oh, that? It is merely what you humans prize so much and yet so often deny to bulldogs. Self-expression. It is me being me. Grum…grum…berrr…grum…

Me:  Well, it makes me think that you are demanding something, and I don’t know what it is.

Stella:  What It is? “What they are” is more like. Get some paper and one of those pointy scratching sticks. It’s time to make a list.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.