Strange Voices – Conversations with Stella

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

Me: How come? What’s wrong?

Stella: Don’t you hear them? The voices? But where are the humans?

Me: Oh, those are part of a Zoom meeting I’m in right now. They aren’t here.

Stella: This is weird. I hear them. How can I hear them when they aren’t here?

Me: The miracle of modern technology.

Stella: Then modern technology is a scary thing.

Me: Yep.

Stella: Should I whisper?

Me: No. I have us muted. They can’t hear us unless I want them to.

Stella: Should I bark?

Me: Nope. Not unless you want to hurt my eardrums.

Stella: Never. So those people are not coming to our house, right?

Me: I hope not. Not without telling me first and getting my permission.

Stella: It’s MY permission they would need.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Fully Charged – Conversations with Stella and Doodlebug

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Hey, watch it, Doodle!

Me: Hey, bud, those are my feet you’re treading on!

Doodlebug: Gotta run! Got to! Got to! Got to! Charge!

Me: Boy, he’s wired.

Stella: Have you been supercharging his food?

Me: No. Same ole food. If I had supercharged food, I’d be eating it myself.

Doodlebug: Here I am again! Coming through! Watch your feet! Where’s my snack?

Me: Here.

Doodlebug: Mmmm….good. Now I’ll just…snore…

Me: How does he do that? If I could, I’d bottle that energy and sell it.

Stella: But, Lady Human, then you’d have to recharge Doodlebug with one of those long, snaky wire things you plug into the walls, and that would not turn out well at all.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Gourmet Meal – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What’s that wonderful aroma?

Me: Special food. Just a little bit left from the other day.

Stella: From a can? Mmmm…the good stuff. I knew it couldn’t be something you cooked, Lady Human. You don’t cook much and, when you do, well…

Me: Thank you, Stella. I’ll remember that come the holidays.

Stella: As long as you remember to bring us something somebody else cooked.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

You Had ONE Job! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What is going on here, Lady Human?

Me: Nothing. A little glitch. I didn’t pick up y’all’s dog food the other day and when I did go to get it, their system was down and I couldn’t check out, so…

Stella: You had ONE job, ma’am! And you couldn’t get that done. What else do you do around here all day?

Me: Well, there’s…

Stella: Do not make excuses to me! ONE job! And now there’s no…hey, what is that?

Me: A substitute food until I can get your regular kind. It’s only for a day.

Stella: It smells nice. But that is no excuse for…hmm, it is kind of tasty…

Me: See, not so bad…

Stella: Only for a day, you said? I’ll allow it this time. And next time. In fact, forget that other stuff. Let’s stick with this.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Where Are My Feet? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, where are my feet?

Me: I don’t know. Where did you leave them?

Stella: I’m not kidding.

Me: Neither am I. Did you check the ends of your legs? ‘Cause that’s the first place I would look. Stella, why are your paws tucked under your body?

Stella: Is that where they are?

Me: Uh, yeah. And it’s not because they’re cold because it’s 98° outside.

Stella: Oh, there the little boogers are! What a relief.

Me: For all of us.

Stella: This reminds me of when all the thick, cold, white stuff was all over the ground a hundred years ago.

Me: That was 6 1/2 months ago.

Stella: That’s what I said. Remember how our feet disappeared every time we took a step.

Me: I remember.

Stella: This was like that. Feet disappear, then they come back. Good ole feet.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Please Move Over – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Who’s nudging me? I am trying to get some shut-eye here.

Me: Oh, Stella, please. I want some shut-eye myself. Please move over.

Stella: You have plenty of room. If you didn’t have such a big tummy, you would not be asking for more room.

Me: I weigh maybe 3 times as much as you do. I need more room.

Stella: And you have 2 legs and I have 4. I need the room. Why didn’t your human parents teach you to share?

Me: They did, but they never met a bulldog.

Stella: Their loss. Now make an accommodation. You humans are flexible.

Me: And you bulldogs are not.

Stella: Now we understand each other. Good night, Lady Human.

Me: Good night, Stella.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Clean Your Plate – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. More.

Me: I beg your pardon.

Wiggles: More.

Stella: Oh, she’s waiting for that word the humans demand to hear so often. Please.

Wiggles: Oh. Okay. Please. More. More. More.

Me: You haven’t finished what you have.

Stella: We’re getting ready for the next round.

Me: I’ll tell you what my parents told me. Clean your plate. Look. There’s some food still there.

Wiggles: Thank you for pointing that out.

Me: And there, Stella.

Stella: Oh, I missed that. And that. And that.

Me: Now if you want a little bit more.

Stella: By no means. What are you trying to do? Make us pigs.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Who’s Cooking Eggs? – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles

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

Me: Yeah, I heard that. I don’t know why.

Wiggles: Someone’s cooking eggs.

Me: That would be me because y’all aren’t allowed to use the stove.

Wiggles: EGGS ARE COOKING!

Me: I am well aware of that.

Wiggles: Let me into the cooking room. I want to smell my eggs.

Me: Who said they were for you?

Wiggles: Eggs are always for me.

Me: I only have two, so…

Wiggles: So you will give me those and go ask the chickens to lay yours. They should have done that anyway.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Cracker Happy Hour is Over – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles

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

Wiggles:  Me, too! Me, too! Me, too!

Me: Hold your horses.

Stella: No! No crackers for horses!

Wiggles:  Let them get their own!

Me: I mean that you have already had your crackers. No more crackers tonight. Cracker happy hour is over.

Stella:  How can it be ‘happy’ if it comes to an end?

Wiggles: How can it be ‘happy hour’ if it’s so short?

Me:  Well, it is over. Once the cracker allotment is eaten, that’s it.

Stella: We’ll have to eat more slowly in the future. But then…what about your cracker allotment, Lady Human? That might give us a few more seconds, right?

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Right Reserved.

Balky Bulldogs – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me: Time to go out.

Stella: I shall proceed to my special rain spot.

Me: Oh, all right. Wiggles! Sweetie!

Wiggles: Nope.

Miss Sweetie: Double nope!

Me: Come on, y’all. Before the rain starts in earnest again.

Doodlebug: Are we in Earnest?

Me: No, earnest means…

Doodlebug: Then why do we care about Earnest?

Me: Go…outside…NOW!

Stella: She’s using her outdoor voice.

Wiggles: And that ugly NOW word. She has been using that more and more.

Me: Look. It is not raining right this minute, but that could change. Don’t balk. Use the opportunity.

Miss Sweetie: I’ll just go inside.

Me: No, you most assuredly won’t.

Miss Sweetie: It’s no big deal. You’ll just clean it up.

Stella: Good point. Cancel my special rain spot appointment.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Special Chair – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Can I use your special chair, Lady Human?

Me: The proper question is ‘May I use your special chair?’

Stella: No, because I don’t have a special chair, but you do.

Me: What are you talking about?

Stella: That special chair in the tiny room where you always close the door like it’s a secret.

Me: The toilet? I close the door to gain a little privacy, but that never seems to work. And no, you may not use it and, actually, you can’t use it.

Stella: How come?

Me: It would require a great deal of balance that you do not possess. Sorry. I have heard of cats that have been trained for it, but never a bulldog. You’ll be happier just continuing to go outside.

Stella: Can you make a special chair for me?

Me: That is not in my current plans.

Stella: You could set it outside. It could be my throne. Every queen needs a throne. Why are you laughing?

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Peanut Butter Trap – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I smell something.

Wiggles:  Peanut butter! Mine!

Me:  I just now opened the jar. Give me a minute.

Wiggles:  I am patient. I will wait. Mine!

Me:  Here you go, Wiggles.

Wiggles: What’s wrong with it?

Me:  Nothing. It’s good peanut butter.

Wiggles:  What is it hiding? Why is the lump of peanut butter so big?

Me:  Just try it.

Wiggles:  Oh, okay. Give it here. I can’t resist. Mmmm. Chewy.

Stella:  It was a trap. What did you sneak in there, Lady Human?

Me:  A flea preventative treatment.

Wiggles:  Well, it’s a shame to ruin a good glob of peanut butter, but I don’t favor fleas. So I’ll let you get by with it this once.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Perfect Pillow – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I have the perfect pillow. It is soft and squishy and just the right size for my big old bulldog head.

Me: Stella? What’s going on?

Stella:  Nothing, Lady Human. Go back to sleep.

Me:  Is that your head on my stomach?

Stella:  Yep. Feel free to pet it. My head, that is.

Me:  Okay. Good night.

Stella:  As I was saying, I have the perfect pillow, but you will not find it in any human store. My pillow belongs to Lady Human and me only. It is an exclusive. You will have to get your own. Good night.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Blank Spaces – Conversations with Stella and MoonCat

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

Me: Coming!

Stella: Faster!

Me: What’s the problem?

Stella: MoonCat is barking and won’t stop.

MoonCat:  Meow!

Me: Cats don’t bark.

Stella: You are right. If they did, they would make sense. What is her problem?

MoonCat:  Meow. Meow.

Me:  Oh, there’s a blank space in the bottom of her food bowl and she can’t stand that.

Stella:  Why doesn’t she just eat what’s still in there?

Me:  I don’t know. She doesn’t like empty spots in her food bowl, no matter how much food is still piled up around the sides.

Stella:  Proves my point. She’ll never make a good bulldog. Blank spaces in our food bowls are the signs of meals well eaten. Hey, MoonCat! Clean your plate!

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Throwing Your Weight Around – Conversations with Stella

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

Me:  Hey! Watch out!

Stella:  What’s the problem? I said, ‘Excuse me.’

Me:  You’re using your bowling bowl body to knock into me.

Stella:  Excuse me. Coming through.

Me:  Whoa!

Stella:  Lady Human, you are taller than me and bigger than me. My bowling ball weight is my only advantage when I need to get past you.

Me:  So you just throw your weight around because you can.

Stella:  Whatever works. Use what you’ve got. And by the way…

Me:  What?

Stella:  Excuse me. Here I come again,

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Dog Bribery – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What’s in your hand, Lady Human?

Me:  A snack for Sweetie.

Stella:  Because you want her to do what?

Me:  I’m just being nice.

Stella:  You’re not being “nice” to me. It’s a bribe, isn’t it?

Me:  Well…

Stella:  Don’t feel guilty. Admit it.

Me:  Bribery is not a human virtue.

Stella:  Because humans use it wrong. I’ve heard you all talk. You use it to get somebody to do something they ought not do or to do something they ought to do but aren’t.

Me:  If I’m trying to get Sweetie to cut her sunbath short because it’s too hot, isn’t that the same thing?

Stella:  Of course not. To a dog, bribery is not a bad thing at all. In fact, keep it coming. I’d like to see more of it.

Me:  Okay.

Stella:  Therefore…

Me:  Therefore what?

Stella:  Where’s my bribe so I will stop talking about this?

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Right Reserved.

Happy 8th Birthday, Stella! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STELLA!

Stella: Me? Today?

Me:  Yep!

Stella: Yay, me! So what are you doing special for me today? Cake?

Me:  No, you know we hardly ever do cake here.

Stella:  Special food!

Me:  Well, maybe some peanut butter crackers.

Stella:  But I get those every night. That’s not birthday special, Lady Human!

Me:  How about a special rendition of the birthday song?

Stella:  With an orchestra of humans?

Me:  No, just me singing really loudly.

Stella:  I thought this was supposed to be enjoyable. That sounds painful.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Get Me Outta Here! – Conversation with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. No! Absolutely not! I will not go in there! Why have you brought me here? Turn this car around! We’re going home!

Me:  Stella, this nice lady is going to walk in that building with us. You are going to get your shots and e are going to go home. All right?

Stella:  No! Not all right!

Me:  Here. Have a cheese cracker!

Stella:  No! Yuck! How stupid do you think I am?

Me: Well, I can’t believe she turned that down.

Strange Lady:  I’ll carry her out of the car.

Stella:  What’s happening?

Me: We won’t be here long.

Stella:  You’d better believe I won’t be here long! You stay if you want to, Lady Human! I’m pointing my stubby bulldog nose at that door, and I am through it the minute it opens.

Fifteen minutes later

Me:  All right. After that excessive display of stubbornness and petulance, we are back in the car and ready to go home. And what good did all that do? The vet still looked you over and gave you your shots and now she thinks that you hate her.

Stella: Excellent! Nobody should ever take a bulldog’s good will for granted. Now she knows who she’s dealing with.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Family Resemblance – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, I’ve been thinking.

Me: Uh-oh.

Stella: I look like a bulldog.

Me:  Yep.

Stella: And Wiggles looks like a bulldog.

Me:  Yup.

Stella:  And Sweetie really, really looks like a bulldog.

Me:  That’s for sure.

Stella:  And Doodlebug looks like…well, a doodlebug.

Me:  That’s how he got his name.

Stella:  But Doodlebug is NOT a doodlebug.

Me:  Nope.

Stella:  So you can still be family even if you don’t look like your family.

Me:  Yes, but regarding Doodlebug, he still looks like a bulldog so…

Stella:  Don’t confuse me, Lady Human. Doodlebug can’t be a bulldog and a doodlebug at the same time.

Me:  Just because somebody’s got a different look or a different name, doesn’t mean they aren’t family.

Stella:  Okay, Lady Human, I guess that means you can be our family, too, even though you look mighty peculiar.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.