Water Dogs – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I hate water. Except for drinking water. I will take a little of that now and again. But otherwise, I hate water.

Me:        I know.

Stella:    How do you know?

Me:        I watch you. When the hose is running, you run the opposite direction. When the puppy pool is being filled, you run the opposite direction. When I am washing anything off outside, you run…

Stella:    …the opposite direction. You are observant. I admit it. It is true. I hate water.

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Me:        Miss Sweetie loves it.

Stella:    Sweetie is a water dog. It happens among bulldogs every once in a while. Most of us are sane and stay away from water. Bulldogs do not float well.

Me:        So, you are a confirmed non-water dog.

Stella:    Amen. I keep my four feet firmly on dry ground. Have you seen how Sweetie plunges her whole face into the puppy pool and swishes it back and forth? Have you seen how she wallows in the water? She acts as though she really likes it. Yuck! Messy and scary! Very unbulldoggy!

Me:        I have seen it. I think it is hilarious!

Stella:    That is because humans have no sense of decency or dignity. You do not know what is truly funny. And you don’t know what is truly bulldoggy.

Me:        I still love water-loving dogs.

Stella:    Awwww. You don’t love me, just because I don’t like water.

Me:        Nonsense. I don’t care if you like water or not.

Stella:    What! You mean I don’t want me as your swimming buddy.

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do Cats Get An Indoor Toilet? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Bulldogs, dogs of any type really, are forced to go outside to potty, while humans and… ugh…cats get to go to the bathroom indoors. Even our parakeet, Pearl, is allowed to potty inside. This is horribly unfair, especially on bad weather days. Dogs are expected to endure heat, cold, rain, snow (whatever that is), ice (whatever that is), hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms…

Me:        Okay, we get the picture. By the way, we have never had a hurricane here. By the time they get here, they’re some rain and a strong breeze and little else. And, if we do have a tornado or two or sixteen in one day like we had a few years ago, we don’t send anyone outside.

Stella:    If cats are allowed to use the toilet inside on all occasions, why aren’t we?

Me:        Think about that for a minute. Cats have an instinct to use a box or a hole and to cover up what they do. Bulldogs, on the other hand…

Stella:    Hey, I wipe my feet every time I potty.

Me:        I know. If I gave you each a litter box, would you all really use it?

Stella:    Hmmm. I would have to say…Nope, definitely not. Nope. Not bulldoggy enough. Too confining. You will never take our FREEDOM!

Me:        So, you will continue to potty outside? For the freedom?

Stella:    Of course, when you put it that way. Cats don’t know what they are missing. But then again, cats always have a warm potty.

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

If It’s Not Food, DON’T EAT IT! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am grossed out. I think that is the right way to say that I am grossed out.

Me:        Are you disgusted?

Stella:    Yes.

Me:        Is your stomach turned?

Stella:    Yes.

Me:        Then ‘grossed out’ is the proper term.

Stella:    Do you know that Doodlebug threw up? A whole bunch?

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Me:        Yes, I certainly do.

Stella:    Doodle! Why would you do such a thing in the house?

Doodlebug:   Uuuhhh. Yuck.

Me:        Well, let’s see here. There are one…two…three leaves, completely intact. Were you eating leaves earlier?

Doodlebug:   Uuuhhh.

Me:        Don’t eat leaves.

Snoopey:   I’ve eaten leaves and THAT didn’t happen.

Me:        Probably different leaves. There is an oak leaf and 2 heart-shaped leaves I don’t recognize. I’ll have to do a search of the yard. Doodlebug, don’t eat leaves!

Doodlebug:   It’s all right, Lady Human. I feel better now.

Stella:    Gross! If you are going to make yourself sick, please have the courtesy to the rest of us to do it OUTSIDE!

Doodlebug:   I wasn’t trying to make myself sick. I was minding my own business and it just happened.

Stella:    Since when does it just happen? Stop eating stuff you find in the yard. Leaves, and yes, I will say it out loud. Poop!

Miss Sweetie:    Ummm! Aunt Stella said an ugly word. She said ‘poop’.

Me:        Yes, poop is a big issue since y’all came.

Miss Sweetie:    Funny word. Poop. Poop. Poop. Poop.

Me:        It’s okay to say ‘poop’. It is not okay to eat it. So there! I said that! Doodle, are you listening?

Doodlebug:   The leaves made me sick. They were stuck to the poop.

Stella:    That’s the point. You wouldn’t have eaten the leaves if you hadn’t been eating the…you know…don’t make me say it again.

Miss Sweetie:   Poop. I said it for you, Aunt Stella.

Me:        Okay. The mess is cleaned up. Can we move on to a more pleasant subject?

Stella:    Sure, but first, all this talk about…you know what…has made me want to go outside and…you know what.

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Humans and Their Scary Stories – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Having said that, Lady Human, you look sad.

Me:        Not sad. Contemplative.

Stella:    Contemplative looks the same as sad from where I am sitting. What is contemplative and why are you that way?

Me:        I have been thinking about some events that took place years ago.

Stella:    Things that had to do with me?

Me:        No, long before you came into the earth. Nothing to do with bulldogs.

Stella:    Good, then I can interrupt with a very important announcement.

Me:        This isn’t another Royal Bulldog Decree, is it?

Stella:    No, not that important, but strange. Don’t move!

Me:        Uh-oh.

Stella:    There is a blue stick. And it is flying! No, don’t look!

Me:        I think I already know what it is so I am going to look. Yep. It’s a damselfly.

Stella:    Not a stick?

Me:        Nope. A flying insect.

Stella:    Because it looks like a stick to me.

Me:        It’s a smaller version of a dragonfly.

Stella:    Dragons fly? Here? Where? Keep them away while I call the others! We will get into battle mode. And here all this time I thought the squirrels were our biggest problem.

Me:        No, no. A dragonfly, an insect a little bigger than that damselfly with a long skinny body and transparent wings. Not a dragon. Can you imagine how horrible that would be?

Stella:    Yes. Yes, I can.

Me:        And how do you know about dragons anyway?

Stella:    That silly Picture Box you are always running. There was a dragon on it and it WAS flying and I thought, Oh, no big deal. Looks like that was a long, long time ago. Why give an insect a scary name if it is completely unlike a dragon?

Me:        I don’t know. I think it comes from some old story about a horse turning into a giant insect…

Stella:    NO! NO! I TOLD YOU SO! I have been warning you about this, Lady Human, for some time now, but oh, no! Don’t believe Stella. She’s just a dumb old bulldog. She doesn’t know anything. GIANT INSECTS ARE REAL!!! EEEEEEEEE!

Me:        Stella, please stop that noise.

Stella:    And to think, if I hadn’t seen that flying blue stick, the truth would never have come out.

Me:        Look at the damselfly. Is it giant?

Stella:    It is as long as my nose is wide.

Me:        You see. Not that big.

Stella:    I AM A BULLDOG! I HAVE THE WIDEST NOSE IN THE WORLD!

Me:        Dragonflies are only a little bit bigger than damselflies.

Stella:    Dragonflies! You mean that there are more than one! We are doomed!

Me:        Forget that I said anything about it. In fact, you were right to begin with. That is a blue flying stick. No big deal at all.

Stella:    Phew! What a relief! Now tell me, does it come from a blue flying tree?

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

What Good Are Neighbors? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human spent too much time outside, visiting with a neighbor today. At least that is what she claims. I think that she sneaked off again to see more short scratching sticks that she calls ‘pens’ at some weird place where humans gather once a year to stare at such things.

Me:        No, the pen show is over until next year. I was visiting with a neighbor who is from Puerto Rico and we talked about how his family is doing after Hurricane Irma. Thank the LORD, they are fine.

Stella:    A likely story. Still it made me ask the question, ‘What good are neighbors?’

Me:        Neighbors can be great. They help out in a pinch and give us an opportunity to help them. It’s nice to have people close by physically who are interested in our homes. They have great recipes to share…

Stella:    Blah, blah, blah. Here is my opinion of neighbors: I have a neighbor. Her name is Snoopey. She has her bed crate right next to mine. Does that do me any good? NO! She does not help me at all. Mainly, she mouths off and complains and, since she is so close, I have to listen to her nonsense. Good neighbor? NOT!

Me:        But it’s still nice to have someone nearby…

Stella:    No, it isn’t. Who came up with that idea? Speaking of neighbors, how nice is it when the humans go and talk to their neighbors about that ugliest of all human hobbies called ‘Politics’ and then come back into the house all hot and bothered because somebody said something and somebody else said something else and blah, blah, blah? Nonsense. Stay inside the house. Don’t talk to anyone. Why do you need to talk to anyone but bulldogs? Bulldogs do not have politics.

Me:        Uh, excuse me, but bulldogs are the most opinionated animals that I know.

Stella:    Opinionated yes, but we don’t have stupid elections to prove our points. If we don’t like something, we just collapse on the ground until we get our way or until we forget what it was we wanted. Easy. Humans make things so complicated.

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Short Scratching Sticks – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and I caught Lady Human in the act of sneaking out again today to go to her short scratching stick show.

Me:        Not sneaking out. Not short scratching sticks. Pens. And it’s not a problem for you all. It’s all over for another year.

Stella:     I understand liking sticks. I enjoy a good stick now and again myself. But I never scratch them on paper. And I would never go someplace just to stare at them. What’s the point?

Me:        Exactly. The point is a big deal with pens.

Stella:    I beg your pardon?

Me:        Granted.

Stella:    You are starting to sound like me, Lady Human.

Me:        Uh-oh.

Stella:    So why all the interest in the short scratching sticks?

Me:        Pens. Pencils. Humans use these tools to make marks that communicate.

Stella:    You mean marks that talk?

Me:        Marks that talk without sound.

Stella:    No noise?

Me:        None.

Stella:    Cool!

Me:        And anyone who knows how can read them.

Stella:    Oh! Reading! That thing that you do when you frown at paper.

Me:        Do I frown when I read?

Stella:    Sure. That’s how I know what you are doing. All right then. Scratching sticks have their uses. Tell me. How do they taste?

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Sneaking Out – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Everything was normal. We had breakfast as usual. We went outside to potty as usual. And then, suddenly, Lady Human disappeared!

Me:        I did not disappear.

Stella:    Well, I couldn’t see you. I called. You did not answer.

Me:        I went on a little excursion.

Stella:    Is that the human word for abandoning bulldogs?

Me:        I left for three – count them – three hours.

Stella:    Sneaking out like a guilty teenager.

Me:        May I remind you that I am a human adult? I don’t sneak out.

Stella:    You came back late.

Me:        I came back early.

Stella:    It seemed late to us. Why would you sneak out like that and leave us all alone?

Me:        Tall Man was here when I left.

 

Stella:    And then he went to that mysterious place he calls ‘work’. And we had to sit here a whole other hour and a half until you came traipsing back in like nothing had happened.

Me:        Nothing did happen. You were all fine. In fact, you were napping when I arrived. It was ten minutes before any of you noticed that I was here.

Stella:    What was so important that you had to sneak out of the house?

Me:        Once again, I did no sneaking. I went to a pen show in town.

Stella:    Pen show? You mean pens like those short sticks that you use to scratch on paper.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    They have shows for that sort of thing? Dog shows, I understand. Dogs are wonderful to see. But scratchy sticks that make marks on paper? Nonsense. You’re making that up.

Me:        Nevertheless, that’s where I went. And, just to let you know, I may go back tomorrow. Tomorrow is the last day of the show and there are lots of tables I didn’t see adequately because I was trying not to stay away too long from y’all.

Stella:    Likely story. I have my eye on you, Lady Human. I’ll be watching.

Me:        Then I’ll be sneaking.

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Seasons Change – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The cicadas are dying. Here. And here.

Me:        I know. You need not pile them at my feet.

Stella:    But they are dying, Lady Human! Why?

Me:        It is the end of their season. They have done their job.

Stella:    But they only hatched out a few weeks ago. They waited in the ground for 17 years and only stayed a few weeks? I don’t understand.

Me:        They hatched. They sang in the trees. They mated. They laid their eggs.  And 17 summers from now…

Stella:    …the eggs they just laid will hatch and the babies will do it all over again. How sad.

Me:        Or how comforting. It’s a great cycle. The locusts…sorry, cicadas that hatch next year will be the ones that were laid as eggs 16 years ago this summer and so on and so on. A continuous chain that keeps looping back.

Stella:    Why now?

Me:        Summer is ending.

Stella:    The trees are silent.

Me:        Seasons change.

Stella:    I don’t like change.

Me:        Neither do I.

Stella:    I’ll miss them.

Me:        They’ll be back.

Stella:    Sure as summer.

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Language of Human Puppies – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Human puppies are smart. The one that visited today can speak bulldoggese. That is more than human adults can do.

Me:        Actually, the baby was speaking gibberish.

Stella:    Are you calling my bulldog language gibberish? How dare you? And what is gibberish? Is it what I think it is because it sounds delicious.

Me:        Gibberish is baby talk. Babies practice talking while they are learning words. Few of the words sound like regular language. That’s how they learn. But it is not bulldoggese.

Stella:    That little human said, ‘Pfffftt.’ Pfffftt. One of the central words of the bulldog dictionary.

Me:        All right. I admit that she made a sound that fell close to ‘pfffftt’. I don’t think that she meant anything by it.

Stella:    How could she not? She is obviously a tough, intelligent little human. She will make a beautiful bulldog someday.

Me:        Stella…

Stella:    Just like me.

Me:        Stella?

Stella:    And we will speak in bulldoggese every day.

Me:        Stella!

Stella:    Huh?

Me:        She will always be a human. She will never be a bulldog. Remember? We’ve talked about this sort of thing before.

Stella:    I will dedicate my Bulldog Dictionary to her. To the young human who cared enough to learn bulldog before her own language. From your Aunt Stella. Pfffftt!

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Am I a ‘People’? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. My question today is ‘Am I a people?’ Lady Human, you are the expert on human words. Am I a people or not?

Me:        Well, technically not…

Stella:    What!

Me:        …because the word ‘people’ is plural…

Stella:    More nonsense.

Me:        Which means two or more and you are only one.

Stella:    Yes, I am the one and only Stella.

Me:        True, you are the one and only of yourself, but there are other Stellas.

Stella:    So, me and all the other Stellas are people.

Me:        Again, not technically…

Stella:    What!

Me:        …because the word ‘people’ means ‘human beings’.

Stella:    Woah! Hold on there! You are saying that we Stellas can’t be people because we are not human?

Me:        I am sure that there are some human Stellas out there so the word ‘people’ refers only to them.

Stella:    Well, I never! How selfish can humans get?

Me:        Pretty doggone selfish sometimes. And then, other times, we do better.

Stella:    Stealing words and saying that non-humans can’t use them!

Me:        You realize, don’t you, that we are talking about human language? Words that humans speak? To other humans?

Stella:    Pfffftt! I hear you speaking human words to me all the time, words that you expect me to understand. And then you change the meaning of the words. ‘This means this and that means that, but now, all of a sudden, without warning, that means this and this means that other thing.’ Pfffftt!

Me:        Okay, but you have dog words that we humans can’t even pronounce. Like that ‘pfffftt’ thing that you do with your mouth.

Stella:    Pfffftt! There! That’s how you say it. Easy.

Me:        Pift.

Stella:    No, like this. Put your lips like this.

Me:        Puft.

Stella:    No, keep your lips tight over your teeth.

Me:        Pheesh.

Stella:    No. Please stop. Don’t even try anymore. Dog words sound terrible coming out of your mouth.

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

What is Gasoline and Why Should I Care? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The humans are speaking gibberish again, but I am attempting to understand them. Once more, they are stressed about some nonsense called ‘gasoline’. Of course. They are always stressed about something or other. This is just the latest in a long list. Lady Human, what is ‘gasoline’ and why should I care? P.S. I don’t really care, but you all are talking about it and not about me so…

Me:        Do you remember going on those campouts with me?

Stella:    How can I forget? We went from living in a comfortable house that is real to living in a cramped fake little house made of cloth and you thought it was fun. By the way, what does the word ‘fun’ mean to humans, because I don’t think it means the same thing to dogs.

Me:        Getting back to the gasoline issue, do you remember on those trips when I would stop, get out, and put a nozzle into the side of the car?

Stella:    Yeah, that was just plain weird.

Me:        Okay, as weird as it looked, that nozzle was pumping gasoline into the car. Cars and trucks use gasoline as fuel and, if the car runs out of gasoline, it stops working until it gets more. Does that make sense?

Stella:    All right, so gasoline is to a car as food and treats are to us.

Me:        YES! Very good, Stella!

Stella:    So, gasoline is car food. Why are you and Tall Man talking so much about car food?

Me:        Well, the hurricane impacted some of the places on the coast that make gasoline and there are these things called pipelines…

Stella:    Yet another nonsense word.

Me:        …that carry gasoline so it can be put on big tanker trucks and brought to stations where we pump it into cars and smaller trucks. And the flooding impacted a pipeline and so not as much gasoline is flowing temporarily. They are working on it and fuel is coming in from other places.

Stella:    Do these pipelines carry our food and treats, too?

Me:        No, and you wouldn’t want them to because the food and treats would taste and smell like gasoline and might catch on fire if you lit a match around them.

Stella:    I can’t light matches, Lady Human. I am a bulldog.

Me:        I am grateful for that, Stella.

Stella:    Bottom line: Our food and treats are all right then.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    So, the problem is…what?

Me:        People around here are buying up as much gasoline as their vehicles will hold all at the same time so they won’t go empty over the weekend and some gas stations are running out of gas. It should all be fixed as soon as the tankers roll in. Local problem. Minor inconvenience. It just requires a little planning if we are going far.

Stella:    Gas stations? Running out of gas? Why didn’t you say so? We are bulldogs. We have plenty of gas. You will never run out. Just take us to them. We can fill them back up. Happy to help.

Me:        Hmmm. It doesn’t really work that way. It’s not the same thing. You see, ‘gas’ can mean different things and they are all different from ‘gasoline’.

Stella:    Never mind, complicated human. I give up. We offer you our store of gas and you turn us down. Fine. Just plan to stay home this weekend while a whole wealth of fuel is sitting right at your feet.

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Whatever You Do, Don’t Freak Out! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges and… what was that?

Me:        What was what?

Stella:    That!

Me:        I don’t hear anything and everything looks normal. What’s going on, Stella? You are all chomping on your play bones like there’s no tomorrow.

Stella:    There’s no tomorrow?

Me:        Well, yes, I believe that there is going to be a tomorrow. Why are you all so freaked out?

Stella:    Wait. Too busy chewing.

Snoopey:   Don’t you feel it, Lady Human?

Me:        If you mean the stress, I do. But we go on with life. Is this about all the hurricane news?

Stella:    Yes. No. Maybe. Wait. More stress chewing needed…Okay. You don’t want us to be stressed out, but you all are stressed, and when the humans are stressed, the bulldogs are stressed. Oh, and the cat, too, but that doesn’t count.

Me:        We are all fine. We are well and we are going to be well. Messages are getting through. Our family and friends down where the hurricane hit are fine. The waters got high but stopped at their doors. Praise the LORD! And now the waters are starting to subside in places. There will be a whole lot of work ahead, but we can do that. There’s been a lot of loss, but we can grieve that…later.

Wiggles:   No, Lady Human! There is water in your eyes! Wait! Chewing on my dinosaur will help you. No! Wait! Let me chew on my dinosaur first.

Doodlebug:   I need two extra bones over here, please.

Miss Sweetie:   You only have one mouth, Doodle. Why do you need three bones?

Doodlebug:        You have three bones.

Miss Sweetie:    That’s different. I like to switch them out. Variety.

Stella:    But this hurricane thing, Lady Human. People have died.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    Animals have died.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    Why?

Me:        Sometimes things happen that are too big for humans to handle. Sometimes we get to thinking that we can do everything by ourselves. Sometimes we get reminded that we can’t. We aren’t even supposed to.

Tiger:     May I switch from stress chewing to stress barking?

Snoopey:   NO! I’m warning you, Tiger, if you start stress barking, I am going to stress bark louder and longer than you! And I’ll win and…

Tiger:     No, I’ll win and you will have to shut up…

Me:        NO! I’LL WIN AND EVERYBODY WILL HAVE TO SHUT UP!

Stella:    Lady Human! Really! Do you need to borrow my chew bone? Because I think all humans need chew bones and you certainly do!

Me:        Sorry. No, thanks. But I meant what I said about the stress barking. You hear?

Tiger:     Yes, ma’am.

Snoopey:   Yes, ma’am.

Stella:    Why are you calling her ma’am? You don’t call me ma’am.

Snoopey:   Pfffftt to that!

Tiger:     Double pfffftt!

Wiggles:   I’m freaking out, Lady Human. Can you pet my head?

Me:        Sure.

Wiggles:   Faster. Faster. More. More. More.

Me:        Okay, back to normal mode.

Wiggles:   Aw. There can never be too much head petting.

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

It’s Cooler and That is a Bad Thing? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The weather is wonderfully cooler, but it is still summer, at least that is what the birds and green leaves tell me. Why is the air not burning, Lady Human?

Me:        We are receiving some rain and breezes from many miles south of here. A hurricane came ashore the other day.

Stella:    Another confusing human word which means what?

Me:        A huge and dangerous storm with much rain and wind.

Stella:    Like a thunderstorm that flashes bright light while rain hits the windows like little rocks?

Me:        No, more than that.

Stella;    Thunderstorms are scary. How can a hurricane be more than that?

Me:        It is the size of hundreds of thunderstorms all circling around a center. The winds are so strong that large trees break and small ones bow and signs and roofs of buildings tear off and go flying and rain floods everything low and rises higher and higher.

Stella:    Have you ever seen this horror called a hurricane, Lady Human?

Me:        Yes. Many years ago, a very powerful hurricane hit my hometown head on. I was very young, but I remember my father boarding up our windows and tying down our yard furniture and my swing set and slide with strong wires so they would not fly off. And I remember my mother putting rolled up towels against the bottom of the doors to keep the water out for as long as possible.

Stella:    And did it? Stay out? The water?

Me:        The rain filled the ditch by the road and covered the yard and came up over the front step and right up to the door. And then stopped. As I recall, the towels got wet, but not the carpet. And then the hurricane passed.

Stella:    Where did it go?

Me:        As hurricanes go inland away from the big waters, they die out.

Stella:    Good.

Me:        They named that one Carla.

Stella:    Humans name monster storms?

Me:        Yeah.

Stella:    Like they are pets?

Me:        I don’t know. Maybe it makes the event more memorable. Instead of calling it Hurricane Number 34810 or something like that. This one is called Harvey.

Stella:    I don’t care to meet him.

Me:        Me either. But many of our neighbors already have.

Stella:    Can a hurricane throw a bulldog?

Me:        Yes, I’m sure it can.

Stella:    Lady Human, will it come here?

Me:        We may get some rain. Don’t worry about the winds. I’ve never seen a hurricane remnant this far from the coast with more than 40 mile per hour winds.

Stella:    If it’s all the same to you, I will be happy to send the cooler air away if our neighbors can be all right. So please, just send Harvey away.

Me:        We will pray, Stella. As always, we will pray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Do You Think Something Is Wrong With Her? – Conversation of Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Everyone be quiet. Something is wrong with Lady Human and I don’t know what it is.

Snoopey:   She is not moving.

Tiger:     She is breathing.

Wiggles:   Her eyes are closed. Does that mean that she is dead?

Stella:    I don’t know. I’ve never seen anything like this before. She is warm.

Snoopey:   But not too warm. She is cool, too. She smells alive.

Doodlebug:   I need to pee. Can she open the door to the outside world?

Stella:    Hush, Doodle. No, she can’t, not right now.

Doodlebug:   But I need to pee.

Snoopey:   Should we paw her? I’ve done that at night in the dark and all she does is turn over.

Stella:    You’ve seen her eyes closed like this before?

Snoopey:   Sure, but only in the dark. Why are her eyes closed in the daylight? Why are her eyes closed in here?

Miss Sweetie:   Maybe she needs to pee. Ask her.

Doodlebug:   Yeah, because I need to pee.

Stella:   I will touch her with my paw. Maybe she will move. Everyone, stand back.

Me:        Hmmm. What? What’s going on? Why are you all staring at me like that?

Stella:    Rah rahr?

Me:        I beg your pardon.

Stella:    That is bulldoggese for ‘Are you alive?’ Well, are you?

Me:        Yeah, sure. I guess I just dozed off.

Stella:    Dozed off? Does that mean you died?

Me:        No, of course not. I fell asleep. Like you all do when you take a nap.

Stella:    Is that what a nap looks like from the outside? Horrifying! We never do anything like that!

Me:        You’ve seen me do it before. Snoopey, you’ve seen me asleep every night for months now.

Snoopey:   Yep, but it looks a lot different in the dark.

Stella:    Lady Human, don’t ever do that again!

Wiggles:   So she is alive?

Stella:    Yes, Wiggles, duh.

Miss Sweetie:    She doesn’t look very alive to me.

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

The Time to Pee Is At Hand – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The time for sleep is coming. Night has fallen. The time to pee is at hand.

Me:        Must we have yet another discussion of pee?

Stella:    There are very few subjects on Earth that merit attention. I believe that peeing is one of them.

Me:        Well, okay. It is important, I admit. I just don’t like to spend a lot of time discussing it.

Stella:    Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Me:        Peeing? Seriously?

Stella:    Didn’t you tell me that there are human vets who spend all their time on peeing issues?

Me:        Urologists? Yes. And they are not human vets. They are doctors for humans.

Stella:    Insignificant distinction.

Me:        Not to them or to veterinarians.

Stella:    Peeing before bedtime is a time-honored bulldog tradition.

Me:        Fine. I just like to think of other things before bedtime.

Stella:    Things like what?

Me:        What I did during the day. What I plan to do tomorrow. Did I learn anything today? Did I please the LORD is something that I did or said? Did I pray for others or only for myself? Did I set a goal and meet it?

Stella:    And what if you need to pee? Where does that fall on your day end list? At the top, if I had to make a guess. Sort of interrupts all the other stuff.

Me:        Oh, all right, I get your point.

Stella:    Now that we are agreed, the time to pee is at hand. And then, good night.

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

The Giant Insect Air Force – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. We are being invaded by a huge number of giant flying insects called cicadas.

Me:        We call them ‘locusts’, but I realize some people call a grasshopper-like insect that so there may be some confusion…

Stella:    What, Lady Human, does that have to do with what is going on?

Me:        Just clarifying.

Stella:    Please don’t. You only make things more confusing. And this is confusing. A day ago, everything was nice and calm and the cicadas were here. Now they are flying around like mad, lots and lots of them, and… OW! One flew into my head!

Me:        Don’t worry. He’s okay. It didn’t faze him one bit.

Stella:    He’s okay? What about me! It fazed me!

Me:        There do seem to be a lot of them flying, more than I’ve ever seen at one time.

Stella:    They are kind of cool. Green and gold and shiny. The trees are filled with them, all singing. Is that windup toy noise their fight song?

Me:        No, it’s more like their mating call so the females can lay eggs and 17 years from now the babies can hatch out.

Stella:    Watch out! Low flying giant insect! What if I catch one?

Me:        You won’t like it. I was wearing flip flops one summer evening many years ago…

Stella:    Boring! Get to the point.

Me:        A cicada flew down and got caught between my toes and my flip flop and I couldn’t get that shoe off fast enough. It was buzzing and shaking and bumbling…

Stella:    That’s great!

Me:        No, not great! And another time a cat caught one in her mouth and liked to have gone nuts before she realized she just needed to open her mouth and let it go. That cicada scared that cat silly.

Stella:    A cicada in a cat’s mouth, huh? Lady Human…

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    But I have an idea.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    But you haven’t heard it yet.

Me:        Don’t have to. I already know what it is.

Stella:    But it would be funny.

Me:        Not for the cat, it wouldn’t be.

Stella:    Hmmmpphh. Pooh! What good is a cicada invasion if we can’t have some fun with a cat?

Me:        If you think it’s so funny, why don’t you go ahead and pick up a cicada with your mouth and see how that works?

Stella:    No, not the same. My bulldog mouth is so large, he’d probably get lost in there and never find his way out again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Rubbing Elbows with the Enemy – Conversations with Stella

Hello. I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges…

Me:        And I am not. What I am right now is amazed, startled, even shocked, because I just caught a glimpse of something on the patio, something surprising, staggering, incomprehensible…

Stella:    Okay. We get it. Something weird happened.

Me:        You should know. You were at the center of the weird.

Stella:    Let’s see. I was panting because it is hot.

Me:        That’s not weird. That’s normal.

Stella:    I got excited when the tiny human puppy visited again and I knocked my water bowl over.

Me:        You get excited whenever anybody visits, though admittedly not to the point of upsetting the bowls.

Stella:    Weird, huh? Oh, yeah, I had a meeting with Jerky McSquirrelyFace out on the patio. Nice guy.

Me:        You don’t think that’s weird after all the running and the chasing and him throwing nuts down on all of us and the saber rattling and the threats of all out squirrel/bulldog war…

Stella:    We talked. They’ve just about run out of pecans here. We made a deal. There won’t be as much nut tossing from now on.

Me:        You talked. Huh. So, there is an outbreak of peace between squirrels and bulldogs?

Stella:    No, not really. We are just on summer hiatus.

Me:        You know what a ‘hiatus’ is?

Stella:    Sure. Yes. No. Maybe. I am thinking it is like a vacation. Anyway, Jerky and I decided that it was too hot to fight right now so we are putting all plans off until the leaves start to fall and the air is cooler. And then, Jerky, watch out! Autumn is coming!

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Big Game Hunting – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:        Why are you whispering?

Stella:    SHHHHH! Sorry, that was loud. Shhhhh! Quiet!

Me:        Why are we whispering then?

Stella:    I am big game hunting. Hunters must be silent and stealthy.

Me:        Don’t tell me. Let me guess. Squirrels?

Stella:    Phhhffft. I said BIG game hunting. Squirrels? Big game? Please.

Me:        Are you hunting rats?

Stella:    What part of ‘big’ don’t you understand, Lady Human?

Me:        I’ve seen some good-sized rodents in my time.

Stella:    Bulldog sized?

Me:        Honestly, no. So, are you hunting a raccoon?

Stella:    Nope.

Me:        A possum?

Stella:    Nope.

Me:        Please say that you are not hunting a skunk.

Stella:    Lady Human, really. Do we ever have raccoons, possums, or skunks in the house?

Me:        No. Praise the LORD!

Stella:    What is the only other non-bulldog animal in the house that I could be hunting?

Me:        My parakeet, Pearl? No, surely not sweet little Pearl.

Stella:    What? A bird? No! Yuck! I said BIG GAME! I am hunting Moon the Cat. Shhhhh!

Me:        Oh, you are hunting the cat. I see…

Stella:    Shhhhh! I know where she is hiding.

Me:        Where?

Stella:    There, under the couch.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    What do you mean? She is right there. I can smell her.

Me:        Yeah, she moved on from that spot about 30 minutes ago.

Stella:    Then what is that shadow? Aaaaggghh! Is it a giant insect that smells like a cat?

Me:        I think you are looking at a couch leg.

Stella:    It’s not the cat?

Me:        No, sorry.

Stella:    How am I ever going to be a big game hunter if I can’t track a simple cat?

Me:        For one thing, Moon is not what I would call ‘big game’.

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Stella:    She is the biggest animal here.

Me:        She weighs about 25 pounds. You weigh 50 pounds. Do the math.

Stella:    I am a bulldog. I don’t like math.

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Look Up With Your Mouth Open – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, here with a warning to all my bulldog and human friends. (Cats can fend for themselves as they are quite fast, slinky, and sneaky.) Recently, we have been getting pelted from above by some pecan-obsessed squirrels led by my nemesis, Jerky McSquirrelyFace.

If you are a bulldog and a pecan shell hits you on the head, no big deal. Bulldog skulls are thick.

Me:        Hahahaha! Thick skulls!

Stella:    Why are you laughing?

Me:        You know. Thick skulls. Like not very smart. Old human expression.

Stella:    I am talking about a danger to avoid and you are being rude with one of your silly old human sayings.

Me:        Sorry.

Stella:    The sky is a dangerous place because weird things fall out of it. Nobody should aim their big eyeballs up lest an obnoxious squirrel or careless bird or one of those humans working on electrical poles should happen to drop something from above.

Me:        It probably doesn’t happen that often really.

Stella:    You have never known a human who had something dropped on them?

Me:        Well, now that you mention it, when Tall Man was a boy, he was climbing a tree one day and a piece of bark fell into his eye. It got scratched slightly and we had to go to the doctor for some drops.

Stella:    Fell into his eye? Yeah, sure.  It was probably a setup by a squirrel who hid behind the tree and laughed and laughed. A whole trip to the vet because of the dangerous sky.

Me:        We don’t go to vets actually. Our doctors are called…doctors.

Stella:    So are vets. What’s your point?

Me:        No point. Never mind.

Stella:    I have a point. Don’t look up at the sky, especially not with your mouth open. Do not allow sky creatures to make deposits in your mouth. That is all.

Me:        Can we look up with our mouths closed and our eyes open?

Stella:    What happened when Tall Man did that?

Me:        How about to watch fireworks?

Stella:    NOOO! Never! Never! Never! Fireworks are evil!

Me:        What about this eclipse that’s coming up?

Stella:    Where the sun gets covered up? Why in the world would you want to look up at that? What’s so special? The sun gets covered up every night. How will you protect yourself from a stray squirrel tossing debris on your face? Bottom line, humans, don’t look up at the sky unless you want to have a sky creature deposit something nasty on your face. The End.

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Nutty Squirrel Party – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The yard is a mess. Who told the squirrels that they could have a party and not clean up after themselves? Not me!

Me:        Not me either!

Stella:    Look what they have done! They have showered pecans and pecan parts ALL OVER OUR BULLDOG PATHS!

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Me:        Yep. No pecan pies for us this fall.

Stella:    Who cares about pecan pies? Okay, well, maybe I do. But look at this mess! Every path is covered with pecans shells and pieces!

Me:        Must have been some kind of party! Yee haw!

Stella:    Really, Lady Human? Are you condoning this?

Me:        Not condoning. Just understanding.

Stella:    AAAAGGGGHHH!

Me:        Okay, I know you don’t want your bulldog paths messed up and covered with shells, but pretty soon the dirt will cover the debris. We may even get a couple of new pecan trees out of the deal. Hey, the last rain filled in the cicada holes!

Stella:    Cicadas. Who cares? Cicadas I accept. But squirrels? Why are they having a party in our yard?

Me:        Uhhh. Because they are squirrels.

Stella:    My nemesis, Jerky McSquirrelyFace, is behind this.

Me:        I have no doubt.

Stella:    Well, I will show him what’s what.

Me:        What is what?

Stella:    The yard is ours.

Me:        Ours as in yours and mine.

Stella:    No, of course not. Not yours at all. It belongs to the bulldogs. So here we come! Watch out, Jerky, you and all your squirrel friends! We bulldogs are on the move! Don’t you dare litter on our bulldog paths again!

Me:        Since you say it is yours, would you all be willing to contribute to the upkeep, maintenance, and taxes on it?

Stella:    The what, the what, and the what? You humans and your silly talk. That’s not our job. Our job is to chase squirrels…and cats. And that we will do. Until all the pecans pies in the world fall out of their little paws and into ours.

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.