Panting Weather – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, blow on the air and make it cooler.

Me: That is not one of my gifts, girl.

Stella: Turn on the twirling thing then.

Me: It is on.

Stella: Don’t try to fool me. It is not going as fast as it can.

Me: Oh, all right. One more notch up. But don’t try to steal the covers if you chill down in the wee hours of the morning.

Stella: Wee hours? Is that why I have to get up to go outside and potty in the dark? Why didn’t you just tell me they were called that? That solves the mystery.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Not Open to the Public – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Old English Bulldogges.
 
Doodlebug:  What’s in your bowl?


 
Stella:  The same thing that’s in your bowl.
 
Miss Sweetie:  Can I stick my face in?


 
Me:  Nope. No food snooping. No food spying.
 
Stella:  That’s right. My food bowl is not open to the public. Can’t you see? The door is shut.
 
Doodlebug:  No fair. We can see it. We can smell it. We can’t touch it.
 
Miss Sweetie:  We are locked out of Stella’s food. Awwww.
 
Me:  What would happen if I left Stella’s food bowl out for you to eat out of?
 
Doodlebug:  I would get more to eat so that would be a win.
 
Miss Sweetie:  I would get more to eat so I would get fatter and that would be a win.
 
Me:  Not really.
 
Stella:  There is a reason why we put doors on things and you two are it.







 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Out Like Lottie’s Eye – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Leave me alone, Lady Human. Uhhh…
 
Me:  Come on, girl. You gotta go out before it starts raining.
 
Stella:  No. Just lay here.
 
Me:  Boy, you sure were fast asleep. You were out like Lottie’s eye.
 
Stella:  What? Whose eye? An eye out? My eye? Both my eyes are here!
 
Me:  No, it’s just an old expression. ‘Out like Lottie’s eye’ just means you were so deeply asleep that it was hard to wake you up.
 
Stella: Who is Lottie? Why is her eye out? Can she open it? What’s going on?
 
Me: I don’t know any Lotties and I don’t know how that saying came about.
 
Stella:  Then why say it? Now I’m all worried about Lottie and her eye. And now I’m going to have to watch my eyes even when I’m asleep. Thank you so much, Lady Human, for fouling everything up with your weird old sayings.







 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Bacon Bribery – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What is your scheme, Lady Human?
 
Me:  Scheme? I don’t have any scheme.
 
Miss Sweetie:  I smell bacon. Whatever it is that you want me to do, I will do it, ma’am.

 
Me:  Will you follow me back into the house?
 
Miss Sweetie:  Immediately if there is bacon at the end of the journey.
 
Me:  How about you, Doodlebug?

 
Doodlebug:  Absolutely and immediately.
 
Stella:  Disgusting. Doesn’t anyone have a backbone anymore?
 
Me:  Stella, will you come back in for a piece of bacon?
 
Stella:  Of course! What do I look like? An idiot?







 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Too Quiet – Conversations with Stella

 
I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human is strange. She has been too quiet. I don’t like weird stuff. Or change. Or boots sitting in the middle of the floor. Or…
 
Me:  Or a whole lot of things that don’t fit your bulldoggy view of the world.
 
Stella:  Exactly. So what is wrong with you, Lady Human?
 
Me:  Just been doing a lot of thinking. And remembering.
 
Stella: Have you been that way because Wiggles passed to the Great Creator?
 
Me:  Yes, partly, but there is more than that. And how would you all even notice me being quiet?  With all the noise you make around here…
 
Stella:  Hey! Somebody else’s loudness is no excuse for being too quiet. Speak up more! That way we’ll have something to shout down!







 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Full-Time Job – Conversations with Stella

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

Me:  Are you worn out?

Stella:  I’m just going to take a little nap for maybe all afternoon, maybe until tomorrow.

Me:  Must be nice.

Stella:  It is.

Me: It takes a lot of energy to be you, doesn’t it, girl?

Stella:  Yup.  Being me is a full-time job.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Food Dreaming – Conversations with Stella and MoonCat

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Here I am, trying to enjoy a peaceful meal and the cat is lying uncomfortably close to my bowl, watching every bite I take. Lady Human, make her stop!
 
Me:  MoonCat, you might want to back off a little bit. Go eat your own food, okay.


 
MoonCat:  Meow. What the big ole bulldog is having smells wonderful.
 
Stella:  Lady Human.
 
Me:  Let Stella eat in peace.
 
MoonCat:  I can dream, can’t I?
 
Me:  She is eating dogfood.
 
MoonCat:  I am not particular. I will just wait until she is finished.
 
Me:  She is finished. I am putting up the bowl.
 
Stella:  Thank you, Lady Human. The thought of a cat’s nose in my food bowl is enough to give me nightmares.





 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

One Last Look – Wiggles

It has taken me two full days to get up enough gumption to tackle this and write about it.

At 10:08 a.m. on Friday, March 4, 2022, Wiggles passed from this earth, exactly one week after her 8th birthday.

Wiggles loved the outdoors. She came to us when she was just over a year old. She had been a country dog. The man who owned her decided that he wanted a motorcycle and selling the dog would help him get to his goal faster. My son’s friend put them in contact with each other and my son bought Wiggles. About two weeks later, Wiggles’ previous owner was killed in a one-vehicle accident while riding his new motorcycle.

Everybody liked Wiggles, even non-bulldog people. That was not always true of other dogs. Wiggles never picked a fight, but she never backed off from one either.

She was active and quick. She loved to sunbathe on pleasant days.

Recently, she had started standing for a long time and staring, but I thought nothing of it. There is a lot to stare at outside. Then, on Friday, she suffered a huge seizure. Her whole body was trembling.

I stared into her face. Her eyes were closed. The trembling stopped. She opened her eyes, looked at me, then closed them again, and went. It was so peaceful that it took me a few minutes to realize that she was gone.

“One last look,” as my son put it.

I believe in God, the Creator of all. I also believe in the revelation of heaven and eternity as presented in the Bible. There was a time when I did not think that applied to animals. I know better now. God is not an annihilator. He used the bulldogs to teach to teach me that. (I am a slow learner.)

I also believe that the LORD restores. The next time Wiggles looks at me, we will both be fully restored and there will be no more last looks.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Happy 8th Birthday, Wiggles! – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Today is special. I don’t know why.
 
Me:  Today is Wiggles 8th birthday! Happy Birthday, Wiggles!
 
Wiggles:  I’m not sure what that means.


 
Stella:  Well, one thing it does not mean is cake. We will not be having cake today. This is a cake-free zone.
 
Me:  It means that you were born eight years ago today.
 
Wiggles:  I’m not sure what that means either.
 
Me:  Well, your mom gave birth to you eight years ago.
 
Wiggles: What is a year?
 
Me:  It’s a way humans have of counting time.
 
Wiggles:  Was eight years a long time ago?
 
Me:  For some purposes.
 
Wiggles:  Does this mean that I am old now?
 
Me:  I don’t think of you that way. I still think of you as you were when you first came. You were a little over a year old then.
 
Wiggles:  A lot has happened since then.
 
Stella:  I’ll tell you one thing that hasn’t happened. Cake. Cake doesn’t happen around here.




 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Gagging and…Yuck! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, why are you gagging and making yuck noises? You really do sound like a bulldog today.
 
Me:  Ugh, I ate the wrong thing or didn’t eat the right thing. I don’t even know.
 
Stella:  That’s because you eat strange stuff out of that cold box. Why don’t you eat the food you give us? It’s easy. It comes in a big bag and out of a big can. There’s a lot of it. We will share with you. Maybe. Once in a while.
 
Me:  But that food is for dogs. Humans have different food needs.
 
Stella:  So you mean that pie, and those potato chips, and that dark drink that you won’t let us even taste, and that stuff that came in the big red box shaped like a heart, and…
 
Me:  Okay. Okay.
 
Stella:  Hey, I understand. I have chewed on a few things in my life that made me gag, too.





 
Copyright 2022  H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

I Am More Bulldoggy Than You – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.  Lady Human, scooch over. You’re crowding my space.
 
Me:  Nope.
 
Stella:  Uh, yep.
 
Me:  Nope. I’m in my spot to stay.
 
Stella:  Hey, who’s the bulldog here?
 
Me:  Today that would be me.
 
Stella:  No way! I am more bulldoggy than you.
 
Me:  No, I am more bulldoggy than you.
 
Stella:  No, I am!
 
Me:  No, I am!
 
Stella:  You’re not even a real bulldog!
 
Me:  How do you know?
 
Stella:  Hello! Look in a mirror!
 
Me: Let’s see. I am ignoring your demands. I am refusing to move or give up space. I am lounging in bed. I am arguing with you. Sounds like…yep…I am more bulldoggy than you.
 
Stella:  Hey, it’s time to get up and feed us.
 
Me:  Oh, yeah, Okay.
 
Stella:  Seems pretty clear to me who won that argument.





 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Picky Eater – Conversations with Stella and Miss Sweetie

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.
 
Miss Sweetie:  Woo-hoo! Look what I found!
 
Me:  Let me guess. Food on the ground.
 
Miss Sweetie:  Why eat out of a bowl when you can eat off the ground?
 
Me:  My thought exactly.
 
Stella:  Lady Human, you are a picky eater. I have never seen you eat off the floor.
 
Miss Sweetie:  Now, Lady Human, don’t get any big ideas. The floor is my dinner plate. No sharing!





 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Encroachers – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, help! There is a weird squirrel on the fence.
 
Me:  That’s not a squirrel. It’s a lemur. Let me call the neighbor it belongs to and tell them it’s wandered over here.
 
Stella:  How dare that what cha call it come into our home space!
 
Me:  Lemur. And it’s no big deal. It’s trained. It just encroached a little too far this time.
 
Stella:  Encroachers, beware! This is bulldog territory. No one else need apply. It’s bad enough we have coyotes and squirrels and possums and rats and raccoons and owls and hawks and…what else do we have?
 
Me:  Lizards and snakes and lots of birds.
 
Stella:  Ew! We need to put up a Keep Out sign!





 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.
 

Tilt Your Head – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.
 
Me:  Come on, Wiggles. Time to get ready for bed. Wiggles, don’t just stand there. Come on! Okay, when you don’t answer me, I don’t know if you are suffering from a cognitive disruption or if you’re just being a bulldog. Now she’s tilting her head.


 
Stella: Of course.
 
Me:  Of course because she doesn’t understand me or of course because why?
 
Stella:  Precisely.
 
Me: Can you explain that a little more?
 
Stella:  When you tilt your head, all your brain juices run to one side and then things make more sense. Especially when talking to humans.
 
Me:  I don’t think that’s how that works.
 
Stella:  Try it. Maybe your just need your brain juices to move around. Then you might understand us better.





 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.
 

Skating Rink – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Something is still wrong with the ground, Lady Human. I thought you were going to take care of this.
 
Doodlebug: Yeah, I am standing still, but I am still moving.
 
Miss Sweetie:  No, you are not moving. The cold ground…that’s what is moving.
 
Wiggles:  And every time I take a step, the ground makes a loud cracking sound like I am a giant.
 
Me:  Some of the ice has lingered, but only in the shady spots.
 
Doodlebug:  Look at me! I am sliding! Weeeee!
 
Stella:  I am walking, but I am not getting anywhere fast. Make it go away. I want our old ground back.
 
Me:  The old ground is there, just underneath a layer of stubborn ice.
 
Stella:  Nope. Not allowed. Only bulldog stubborn is allowed around here.





 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Socked In – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human! You have fouled up the weather again! The ground is white, and the sky is spitting ice chunks that are bouncing off my back.

Me:  Honestly, I am not in charge of this.

Stella:  I told you last year, after Snowpocalypse, not to let anything like that ever happen again.

Me:  Well, we’re still about 25 degrees warmer than we were during that event last year, so…

Stella:  Not good enough! Make it go away. I like to see the ground I am pottying on.

Me:  Hmmm, give it about two days. And the ground may be covered in snow and ice, but it is still there.

Stella: A likely story! If humans can’t control the sky, how do we know you won’t take away the ground while it is covered up? What if I step and there is nothing there?

Me:  I would never take the ground out from under your feet … even if I could … which I can’t.

Stella: Another likely story! I’ve got one eye on you, Lady Human, and another eye on the disappearing ground.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Ugliest Word – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Uh-oh. I feel it coming.
 
Me:  Wiggles, go on outside. Wiggles. Wiggles. NOW!
 
Stella: I knew it. The ugliest word in human language. NOW! Like we can’t pick our own time to potty.
 
Me:  If I wait for y’all to pick your own time to do anything, it likely won’t get done right.
 
Stella:  How insulting, Lady Human! We don’t tell you when to do stuff. What if we did? Lady Human, feed us NOW! Lady Human, give us treats NOW! Lady Human, put down that little Picture Box and go to sleep NOW!
 
Me:  But you do tell me that every night. Only you do it with your paw.
 
Stella:  Because I refuse to say ugly words like NOW.




 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Exploding Head – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human?
 
Me:  Uh.
 
Stella:  Lady Human, are you there?
 
Me:  Uh.
 
Wiggles:  I think something is wrong with her. Is something wrong with you, ma’am?



 
Miss Sweetie:  Something has to be wrong with her. Her head keeps exploding.

Me: Uh

Doodlebug:  She sounds like a bulldog. Nothing wrong with that.
 
Stella:  Maybe we should do something.
 
Wiggles:  Like what?
 
Doodlebug:  I know! We can jump on her.
 
Miss Sweetie:  Humans don’t do well when you jump on them. They flatten out.
 
Me:  Achoo! Uh.
 
Stella:  There it is again. Everybody, stand back! Lady Human?
 
Me:  Uh.
 
Stella:  We are going to sit here and stare at you until it is supper time. Then your head will have to stop exploding and you will have to get up and take care of us. Problem solved.




 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.
 
 

Finding A Voice – Conversations with Stella and MoonCat

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.
 
MoonCat:  And I am MoonCat, Queen of everything. Meow! That means, Howdy!


 
Stella:  No, no, no, not Queen.
 
MoonCat: By the way, Lady Human, one more thing. FOOD!
 
Me:  Is that all you ever think about?
 
MoonCat:  Yes. I thought that was obvious. Oh. And I think about how I am Queen of Everything and how awesome I am.
 
Me:  Wow! That’s a lot to take in. You’ll have to let me ponder that. Now that you’ve found your voice, I’m not sure that we are going to agree all the time.
 
MoonCat:  No need to agree. I am right. That’s all you need to know. And now…as I said…FOOD!



 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Cats Need Not Apply – Conversations with Stella and Doodlebug

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Ew! Doodlebug! MoonCat is drinking out of your water bowl!
 
Doodlebug:  Yeah, she does that sometimes.


                                                                                                                      
Me:  MoonCat, your water bowl is where it always is. What’s going on?
 
MoonCat:  Bulldog water tastes better.
 
Me:  And this doesn’t bother you, Doodlebug?
 
Doodlebug:  Nope. Plenty for all.
 
Stella:  Well, it bothers me! It is unseemly and…well…well…unbulldoggy.
 
Doodlebug: MoonCat is a bulldog now.
 
Stella:  Noooo! Not possible. Cats can’t be bulldogs. Period!
 
Doodlebug:  She asked to join our pack and I said yes.
 
Stella:  Cats can’t just apply and become bulldogs. Bulldogs are special. Bulldogs are different.
 
Doodlebug:  But she has a little mouth and tongue and doesn’t drink much, and we eat her food if it falls on the ground, so what’s the problem?
 
Stella:  That’s different. Bulldogs are vacuums. We make the world a cleaner place.
 
Doodlebug:  But she lets me drink from her water bowl.
 
Stella:  Well, there’s no accounting for taste.


 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.