HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME and my sister, Snoopey – Stella’s Blog

Yay! It is my birthday. Lady Human told me so. She thought it was months ago, but Tall Man showed her a paper that says it is today! I am so excited, but I don’t know why. I didn’t even know what a birthday was until she told me. I just figured that I had always been.

Oh, and since Snoopey is my sister, it is her birthday, too. Apparently, puppy sisters are born at the same time. But that is not the important point. The important point is that it’s MY BIRTHDAY!

The humans count off a certain number of days and declare that to be a year and every year on the same day, they have a birthday. And so do bulldogs. I do not understand what time is or what they call calendars. I don’t believe bulldogs need such things. Every day is special. Every day is a new beginning. When the sun comes into the morning sky, all things start over.  Things happened before, but they are not as important as what is happening right now.

And right now, it’s MY BIRTHDAY!

Lady Human says that I am three years old. That does not sound like much. I think I have been around for at least 100 years,whatever a year is. (I still don’t understand that part.)  She says that I have been here with her for a little over one year.  That can’t be right. I don’t remember much about the days before I came here.It seems so long ago. Maybe those days were not as significant. Maybe I was too young to understand them.

But none of that matters because it’s MY BIRTHDAY!

So what else does a birthday mean?

Lady Human says that some humans put special shiny hats and collars and clothes on their dogs, but she is not going to do that to us. Good! It is too hot for extra clothes right now. She says that some humans give their dogs special cakes, but our tummies are too bulldog delicate for that.

She is giving all of us extra treats, good ones like sweet potato chips and chicken bacon jerky which are our favorites.

Why the non-birthday bulldogs are getting extra treats alongside us birthday girls, I don’t understand. Lady Human says it is a celebration and besides, she doesn’t know when Wiggles’ birthday is and she doesn’t want Wiggles to miss out. I guess that’s all right as long as I get my fair share. By fair share, I mean double what everyone else gets.

(And even Moon the Cat is getting her cat treats. Why? It’s not her birthday. This is a bulldog party. No cats! Oh, nevermind. I can be generous one day a year, whatever that is.)

So to everyone out there in the world, HAPPY MY BIRTHDAY! You can have your own treats, even cake if you like and it won’t hurt your stomachs. And you can sing happy songs, too. It doesn’t matter to me. I won’t hear you.

I will be thinking about my treats and how Lady Human sang to us because we are unique and I will be dreaming of my birthday next year, whatever year means. I hope it comes tomorrow.


Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges (and Sister Snoopey who is not the Queen)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Leave It Outside – Stella’s Blog

I, Stella McStarFace the First, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, hereby issue this edict:

 To All Olde English Bulldogges within the sound of my voice:

The following shall from henceforth be left outside the house (Personally, I don’t care what you bring in. Lady Human told me I had to talk to you all about this.)

 POOP – No matter how good it smells to you, it smells bad to the humans; therefore, no poop is to be deposited or brought inside. I mean, really? Do I have to say this? My fellow bulldogs, you know that poop belongs outside – always! If you find poop attractive (which to me is unbelievable), go ahead and sniff at it, but DON’T NOT PICK IT UP. LEAVE IT OUTSIDE!

 STICKS – You do not know where that stick has been. It is dead and fell off of a tree. The tree didn’t want it. Why do you? It may contain ants or (yuck!) spiders. The humans have given you tough chew toys. Gratitude, bulldogs! Don’t chew junk when you have better.

 MUD – Wipe your paws on the outdoor step. If the puppy pool is full of water, rinse your feet in there and do not return to the dirty yard before you go inside. Why should your paws prints be all over the floor. I have to walk there, too.

 ROTTEN CHICKEN EGGS – Don’t let the chickens fool you. If the egg were any good, they would not be shoving it in your direction. They are laughing at you, bulldogs. That’s what that cackling sound is.

 PERSONAL CONFLICTS – Lady Human insisted that I address this particular problem. Apparently, this is not something you can carry in your mouth although she says that our mouths are part of the problem. If you don’t like another bulldog, LEAVE IT OUTSIDE! We all have to live together. That means NO FIGHTING! If another bulldog ticks you off, so what? Nobody gets along with everyone else all the time. LEAVE IT OUTSIDE! It would be better for everyone if you just forgot about it and came in the house peaceable, ready to eat, drink, and enjoy toys and treats.

 In conclusion, Lady Human asked that I put this in my edict. It is the Great Creator’s desire that we all live in peace. She says that humans struggle with this as well.

 “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14 KJV

 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18 KJV

Signed, Queen Stella


 Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Speech! Speech! Speech! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:        Allow me to interrupt.

Stella:   Why not? You do all the time even without permission.

Me:        Only as necessary, so yes, just about all the time. What was that horrible throaty noise you were making to the other dogs? It sounded like gargling embedded in a whine.

Stella:   You have no appreciation for bulldoggese! Horrible? Gargling? Whine?

Me:        That’s what it sounded like to my human ears.

Stella:   I was giving a speech to my followers. You humans understand this. I have been hearing nothing but speeches from your human overlords for many days now.

Me:        Uh, excuse me. We don’t have human overlords. Not that some humans don’t try to lord it over us.

Stella:   That’s not what I was hearing on the Picture Box. And if you humans make speeches, why can’t I make one…or two…or a few more to my bulldogs?

Me:        What were you saying to the bulldogs?

Stella:   I told them that humans talk a lot and say very little. I told them that they were not to worry about that. I told them that they are not responsible for human speech that means nothing. I told them to ignore the cat, too. She talks entirely too much and nothing she says makes any sense. And I told them that if they don’t understand something that a human tells them to do, they should just start barking and the humans will give up.

Me:        Oh, thank you, Stella, that is so helpful.

Stella:   You are welcome.

Me:        No wonder the bulldogs are barking so much!

Stella:   I am their Queen. They do listen to me. Sometimes.  Do humans listen to their leaders when they make speeches?

Me:        Mmmmm.

Stella:   Maybe I should start making speeches to the humans. Maybe they would listen to me.

Me:        You know, Stella, under the current circumstances, it couldn’t hurt.


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




No Treats for the Wicked – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, will begin this conversation. I just witnessed something truly disturbing.

Me:        A giant insect? A giant lizard?

Stella:    No, worse. Why was the cat getting treats?

Me:        I give her cat treats every now and then.

Stella:    Why was the cat getting treats?

Me:        Because I wanted her to have something special.

Stella:    Why was the cat getting treats?

Me:        Sounds like your record is broken.

Stella:    No treats for cats!

Me:        I don’t give her your treats.

Stella:    What did she do to earn them?

Me:        She was just being herself.



Stella:    That is simply wrong! She is a cat! You know how they are!

Me:        Well, what do you do to earn most of your treats?

Stella:    Not important!

Me:        Why can’t I give the cat treats just because I want to?

Stella:    Because CAT! Cats don’t deserve treats!

Me:        We get good things we don’t deserve and we don’t get some hard things that we do deserve.  We call that grace, both ways. Grace can’t be earned.

Stella:    Would you give me some grace?

Me:        When you say the word ‘grace’, you are really thinking about treats, aren’t you?

Stella:    When I say any word, I am always thinking about treats.

Me:        All you had to do was ask, Stella.

Stella:    Wait! Grace doesn’t mean a cat treat, does it?

Me:        No, I wouldn’t fool you like that. That wouldn’t be gracious.

“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?…how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?”  Matthew 7:9-11 KJV


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Sniff It Before You Eat It!

The chickens play a little game with the bulldogs now. They push a couple of their eggs against the wire wall of their run and the bulldogs paw at the offering. Every so often a dog successfully punctures an egg (they are infertile eggs – no roosters around right now) and licks up the egg white and yolk.

I always know when this has happened because when I call the bulldogs back into the house, they don’t show up. They are busy egg hunting behind the chicken run where I can’t see them. They are not about to break off simply to run back into the boring house where no one offers them smelly eggs.

A good fresh hard-boiled egg now and again is a reputable treat, but on occasion, the hens offer their bulldog followers an egg that they have kept buried, an egg overlooked in the regular retrieval process – in other words, a smelly old egg.

Stella, Snoopey, and Tiger are discerning food connoisseurs. Egg offerings do not tempt them. But Wiggles and her 10-month old puppies, Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie, are trash divers. A stinky smell will lure them off course and entice them every time.

“Don’t eat that!” and “Ew! Yuck!” are my two most common warnings to them. I have started using truly delicious, pungent treats to break their habit. It appears to be working.

If you were given a choice between a raw egg and a smoky chicken jerky treat, which would you choose? Precisely! Me, too! Smoke and salt every time!

So what have I learned from the bulldogs?

  1. If it stinks, there is a reason. Don’t assume that it is okay, no matter what it is.
  1. Some stinky foods are all right because they are meant to stink, e.g. bleu cheese. If it is meant to stink, let it. If it is not meant to stink, throw it away and get something fresh.
  1. If it is supposed to be yellow and it is blue or green, that is not okay.
  1. If it is supposed to be red and it is black, nope!
  1. I believe that God has given us a discerning sense of smell so that we can avoid the bad smells and enjoy the good ones. Bulldogs have been especially blessed in this (200 – 300 million olfactory receptors in dogs vs. 5 million in humans).

Bottom line, if it smells bad, that’s a red flag warning. Stay away from the stink!


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Who Turned Off the Water?

Miss Sweetie has struck again.

Recently, she broke Doodlebug’s collar while he was still wearing it.

Yesterday, she did one better times 100. She bent the outdoor faucet in the patio – the very one that we use to fill the puppy pool.

How did she accomplish that? With her big bulldoggy mouth. I saw her out of the corner of my eye, but really thought nothing of it until I went to fill the chickens’ water jug. The faucet handle fought me. The pipe extending from the wall was bent – yes, actually bent. The metal pipe was bent.

I was able to get the water on, but I couldn’t turn it completely off without the leverage help of a screwdriver. Until it is fixed, off is how it will stay to avoid a major leak.

So why did she do it? She never paid no nevermind to the faucet before.

My firm belief is that she wanted to fill the puppy pool which sat right beneath the faucet and, having seen me turn the water on just about every day, she figured she could “handle” it herself.  Sort of like her brother does when he uses his talented paws to pull the backdoor handle down and let himself in.

Smart dogs. Scary smart.

Of course, now Miss Sweetie has temporarily lost access to the object of her desire. She is the bulldog most in love with the puppy pool and we have no other access to water in the fenced area of the yard. I feel like putting up a sad face here.


So what have I learned from this?

  1. Monitor Miss Sweetie around all plumbing fixtures. She can break ‘em, but she can’t fix ‘em.
  1. Be careful what I let her see me do or I may come around a corner some day to find her on her way out the door with my car keys in her mouth. (Warning: she is not licensed to drive.)
  1. Before I put my hand to something I don’t understand or blow my mouth off about things I don’t really know, stop. Think. Pray. Get understanding. Why let ignorance break the very thing I am trying to use?

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”   (Proverbs 4:7 KJV)

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Promise Me or I’ll Scream – Conversations with Stella

This is Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Please allow me to begin this conversation with a SCREAM!!! AAAAAGGGHHHHEEEEEEE!!!

Me:        Ow, Stella! What was that? It hurt my ears!

Stella:    WHERE DID YOU GO?

Me:        Stella, stop yelling! I went to the store, that’s all. I was only gone for an hour.

Stella:    Only an hour from hell!

Me:        But there’s nothing wrong. Everything seems fine. Everyone is here. No one is hurt and no one else is screaming. Why are you so upset?

Stella:    The Picture Box! Look at the Picture Box!

Me:        The television? I’m looking. It’s all right.

Stella:    All right? All right? Look at the humans running! Hear them screaming! They are being chased by a…GIANT LIZARD! You never told me that there were GIANT LIZARDS! Why? Why are there such things?

Me:        It’s all right, Stella.

Stella:    No, no it’s not! Why isn’t someone helping those poor humans?

Me:        It is not a news program. It is a movie. It’s entertainment.

Stella:    Humans think that giant lizards chasing and eating people is entertainment? Think again!

Me:        It’s all make-believe, made up stuff. It’s not real.

Stella:    You mean that there never have been any giant lizards?

Me:        Well, actually there were…

Stella:    NO! Horrible!

Me:        Calm down. They haven’t been around for a long, long time.

Stella:    Do you promise me that there are no giant lizards now?

Me:        It depends on your definition of ‘giant’. There are some lizards that are your size.

Stella:    Life is a nightmare.

Me:        No, it isn’t. In all your time on Earth, have you ever seen a lizard anywhere near your size?

Stella:    Hmmm. No. Just little guys like that green talking one that keeps showing up on the Picture Box. He’s okay.

Me:        So admit it. Life is not a nightmare.

Stella:    I will reserve judgment for now.

Me:        What can I do to make this all better for you?

Stella:    I can’t tell the difference between your human make-believe and your human news programs.

Me:        Neither can I.

Stella:    Pledge to me that you will not leave the Picture Box on when you go to the store or anyplace else.

Me:        All right. I pledge that I will not leave the television on when I leave the house. Subject to the following exceptions: I may forget, I may not be able to turn it off, someone else may turn it on, you may turn it on, I may not want to turn it off.

Stella:    That does not sound like a pledge.

Me:        The meaning of the word ‘pledge’ has weakened considerably over the years.

Stella:    So humans no longer make real pledges?

Me:        Of course they do. It all depends on who the person is who is making the pledge. And on who is receiving it.

Stella:    But you still promise that there are no more giant lizards, right?

Me:        Hmmm.


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




My Heavy Crown – Stella’s Blog

As Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, I, Stella McStarFace the First, have many responsibilities.

  1. I have to guard all of my toys to make sure they aren’t misappropriated. Misappropriated is a long word that Lady Human taught me. It means stolen by bulldogs.
  1. I have to complain – loudly, using my outdoor voice in an inappropriate manner so I get maximum attention. Inappropriate is another of Lady Human’s long words. She uses those words when she stands in front of the bulldogs and talks and talks and talks, usually after someone has caused a riot or a ruckus. The speeches are pretty boring, but they increase my vocabulary so I don’t complain about them. Much. Usually I just drift off into a nap.

So what, you may ask, do I have to complain about? That list is lengthy and the                         subject for another blog post. In fact, I should include that list in a conversation with             Lady Human. That will save time. How do the humans put it? Kill two cats with one               stone.

           (Transcriptionist: No, not cats. The old expression is…oh, nevermind.)

Please ignore any interruptions by my staff. To continue –

           3. I have the primary responsibility for chasing Moon the Cat. Oh, the others pretend                 that they will, but when they come face to face with her, what do they do? They                       stare and walk on by, leaving all the real chasing for me. It is quite lazy of them and               selfish to boot. As much as I enjoy cat-chasing, the whole weight of it should not                   fall on me and my heavy head.

4. I am the bulldog representative to the humans, not just for complaining even                          though that is the most fun. The humans are pretty clueless and I let them know                    what needs to be done, such as when we need treats, and more treats, and                                  different types of treats, and more of those treats, too. I am also the taste-tester                    for all new treats. Unless it has my royal approval, it doesn’t get shared with the                      others. Of course, I don’t mind finishing off the rejects.

I am sure that I have other queenly responsibilities, but I don’t know what they are so I don’t care. Right now, I am going to exercise my prerogative to take a long nap. Being queen is a tiring business.


Stella the First, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



The Stupid Award – Conversations with Stella

Stella:   In my authority as Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, I hereby institute the Stupid Awards. Tah-dah! As the humans say.

Me:        Just wondering. Are the awards stupid or are the recipients stupid?

Stella:   Silence! The Queen is speaking!

Me:        Yeah, that kind of command doesn’t work on me. Human, remember?

Stella:   I am never allowed to forget. (Sigh)

Me:        I apologize, Stella. I’ll play along. Are these Stupid Awards like your List of Offenders?

Stella:   Oh, no. Offenders don’t get prizes. The Stupids will.

Me:        I can’t wait to see what they are.

Stella:   You won’t have to wait. You will be providing them.

Me:        Well…that depends…

Stella:   Each award winner will be credited with one treat of their choice, which will then be given to me.

Me:        So this is really all about you getting more treats.

Stella:   No, it is about recognizing stupidity where it lives.

Me:        There is no shortage of stupidity in the world.

Stella:   I will be happy to hand out awards for all of it. I haven’t decided what the short name for the awards should be. I am leaning toward calling them Stupies.

Me:        Who is your award winner?

Stella:   The first Stupie goes to Tiger for jumping up on your leg and digging her nail into your skin. You were wearing those pants that are missing the knee parts and she made you bleed your own blood. That was stupid.

Me:        She was not stupid. She was just excited. I think it surprised her as much as it did me.

Stella:   Drawing blood is stupid. There! I said it! I am the Queen. My decision stands. That will be one treat for me, please.

Me:        Shouldn’t you share the treat with Tiger since she won the award?

Stella:   What? Award someone for being stupid. How stupid do you think I am?

Me:        Oh, Stella, I don’t think you are stupid at all. Here’s your treat.

Stella:   Mmmmm. Sweet potato chip. Maybe I should hand out more stupid awards.

Me:        Let’s not overdo it. You don’t want to spoil your supper. By the way, what happens if you win the Stupid Award?

Stella:   Not that I ever would, but double treats for me! I win again! Yea, me!


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





The Trophy

Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie still qualify as puppies. They are 9 month old litter mates, rambunctious and wild as…well. ..as young bulldogs. I was going to say March Hares, but bulldogs probably would not appreciate being compared to any variety of rabbit. They would admire their speed, but rabbits don’t possess those iconic bulldog fangs, something of which the bulldogs are justly proud.

A favorite game of theirs is to grab the scruff of the other’s neck, a particularly loose area of skin on bulldogs. One will grip the other, usually while they are in full gallop, Then let the wrestling begin. The grabber pulls the grab-ee down, they roll around for a few minutes and, turnabout being fair play, the grab-ee returns the favor. Doodlebug drags Miss Sweetie across the yard. Miss Sweetie takes her turn doing the same.

The whole game appears rough. It is. And they love it. They are best friends for life and their tit for tat is continually forgiven.

But Miss Sweetie may have gone a little too far during one of their games.

When it was time for them to come in from play to avoid the brutal heat, I opened the back door and Doodlebug rushed in, sans his new collar. Great. Okay. The search was on.


It didn’t take long. Out in the yard, refusing to come in, was Miss Sweetie with Doodlebug’s collar hanging from her mouth. I caught up with her and retrieved the stolen collar. Its latch was broken. She had grabbed him, not by the scruff of his neck, but by his collar. So much easier.

Her powerful jaws had cracked one side of the latch and she let her brother go, preferring to keep his collar as a trophy of victory. Doodlebug is stronger than she is and it is rare that she comes out on top in their contests.

Still, to her credit, she never gives up. This time she came away with something to prove her triumph.

Trophies are iffy things. Not everyone who has one deserves it.

I am reminded by Doodlebug’s broken collar –

It’s not much of a trophy if I tore it out of the rightful owner’s hands.

It’s not a victory if I claimed what was not mine.

It’s not a true victory if I didn’t play by the rules. (2 Timothy 2:5)

Did Miss Sweetie compete lawfully according to bulldog rules? I don’t know. They have not deigned to include me on those details. Perhaps someday I will understand them.


Copyright 2016 H. J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Once Upon a Time – Conversations with Stella

Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge Queen, is back with me for another conversation. So what’s the topic this time, girl?”

Stella:   Girl? How rude! Would you call the Queen of England “girl”?

Me:        No, but the Queen of England is…how shall I say this…a real queen.

Stella:   Hmmph! You don’t know your queens, do you?  A crown does not a queen make. So, by the way, where’s my crown?

Me:        I thought you just said that a crown does not a queen make.

Stella:   That doesn’t mean I don’t want one. I have even started a story about it.

Once upon a time, there was a special dog named Stella. She was a queen, but nobody gave her a crown to wear, just a dumb old collar that was at least a pretty color. Without a crown, people could not tell that she was a queen. One day, she pulled her collar off and wore it on her head, but since it had no gold or jewels, people stared at her and said, “Look! A dog with a collar on her head. Who does she think she is – a queen?

How do you like it so far?

Me:        It’s kind of sad. Now I want to get you a crown.

Stella:   Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Make it solid gold with jewels, all different colors, and those pointy things all around the top. Will you ever wear a crown, Lady Human?

Me:        Only as God grants.

Stella:   I think you would look good in one. Not as good as I will, but good enough.


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Mouth Traffic Jam – Stella’s Blog

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Once again, hello!

We bulldogs are known everywhere by our big, beautiful mouths. They are wide and deep and framed on the bottom by serious-looking teeth that Lady Human calls our “upside down vampire fangs”.  I don’t know what an upside down vampire is. Since she loves bulldogs, that was probably a compliment to us. Probably. Maybe. Lady Human says weird things sometimes. I still love her. Probably.

Bulldogs are vocal. Human translation: LOUD. It is one of the things I like most about us. If you are a dog, bark. If you are going to bark, BARK LOUD!

Don’t be a pipsqueak!

But having said that, there is too much bulldog mouth traffic around here. This past week has been LOUD. When Lady Human takes me somewhere in her rolling box and there are too many other rolling boxes in front of her, she says, ‘Traffic jam!’  That means we won’t get to the fun place or…yuck, the vet (a sweet lady, but you know, vet) any time soon.

What we have at our house is a MOUTH TRAFFIC JAM. Too much bulldog talk too much of the time. Why does this bother me? Because with everyone else barking, no one can hear me. As queen, I deserve to be heard first, foremost, and all the time.

If the queen barks and no one hears her, how can she be queen?

So today I am issuing a queen order. (A what? An edict? If you say so.)  I am issuing an edict.



Well, that was easy enough. I am surprised that the humans haven’t figured out the edict thing yet. It would solve all of their problems.

Signed, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Jump for Joy

Had I turned around three seconds later, I would have missed it. Isn’t that the way with so many things in life? A couple of seconds here, a minute there, and the event is over . Done and gone.

Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie cut loose with a mad puppy dash around the den and kitchen. Mind you, each of these “puppies” weighs sixty pounds. At this point, they  are more of an imitation of Sherman tanks on the roll, much like their adult counterparts when they are so inspired.

I corralled Doodlebug and, as I was leading him back to the calm of his crate, Miss Sweetie roared out of the kitchen at a gallop. Not a trot, not a run – a full out gallop.

And then she did it. Her four bulldog legs launched her body into the air. She kicked her hind legs flat in a bucking bronc move. A bucking bulldog. The leap flew her 18 inches off the floor. She landed with her full galloping stride unchecked. She slid to a stop in the utility room, turned, and continued her bolting run back toward the kitchen.

By the time I caught up to her, her tongue lolled to the right side of her mouth and her face wore a satisfied look that declared, “I did what I came to do and it was great.”

Her leap was a jump of pure joy.

It would not have scored high marks at the Olympics. Nobody will base a dance craze on it. And since I had no camera rolling, no video of it will go viral.

But I smiled. And I grinned when I saw her bulldoggy face and the satisfaction written all over it. Thank the LORD for jumps of joy.

So many tears have been shed. For so many reasons.

But then there is joy.

“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5 KJV)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Please Walk With Me, Not Against Me – Conversations with Stella

I am here once again with Stella, QUEEN of the Olde English Bulldogges…

Stella:   Thank you for remembering to mention my proper title.

Me:        How could I forget? Training bulldogs to walk on a lead or leash has been a greater challenge than I had expected.

Stella:   Wait! When you bring out the leash, I get all excited and it has been training? As in…yuck…obedience training?

Me:        Uh, yeah. Not that obedience has had much to do with it. I do enjoy taking you places and walking with you, but, thus far, I consider my leash training efforts to have been a failure.

Stella:   Let’s see. How would you put it? YEAH, DUH, WE’RE BULLDOGS!

Me:        If I could do it safely, I would let all of you out with no leashes. But someplaces, like those state parks where we camped, won’t allow that at all, and some places, like public sidewalks, aren’t safe for you.

Cars rush by. Strange dogs are running around.

Stella:   Strange dogs? What is strange about them? Just how strange are they? Do they have eight legs? Do they fly?

Me:        (sigh) Strange as in unfamiliar to you.  Regular dogs you have not met and that haven’t met you.

Stella:   Well, all right. If you say so. You would tell me if there were such unusual dogs, wouldn’t you?

Me:        If I learn of dogs that fly or dogs that run on eight legs…

Stella:   Spider Dogs.

Me:        Spider Dogs. Yes, I will warn you in advance. In fact, I might just stay home all the time with you.

Stella:   You could still brave it to go buy more treats when we run low.

Me:        Thanks, Stella, I would risk encountering monster dogs to go pick up your treats.

Stella:   I know. And that is one of the reasons why I love you, Lady Human.

Me:        Back to leash training. When you bulldogs “walk” on a leash, you don’t walk with me. You pull me or you veer off in a perpendicular direction, left or right.

Stella:   I don’t know where this “perpendicular” is, but you are right. We pretty much go whichever way we want. As for pulling, doesn’t that help you speed up your walking?

Me:        I have to speed up to walk with you. Any of you. But that’s not my goal as much as keeping myself upright and not kissing the pavement.

Stella:   Pavement kissing is not your favorite thing?

Me:        I don’t do it voluntarily.

Stella:   I do pavement sniffing all the time and I rather like it.

Me:        Two totally different activities by two totally different creatures. Can we please work on walking in the same direction with you walking beside me and not pulling me from the front or from the side?

Stella:   We can work on it. Not making any promises. I can’t deny my nature.

Me:        But you can curb it.

Stella:   Curbs. Yes. I totally understand curbs.

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”  (Amos 3:3 KJV)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Poop and Patience

Eventually, if you talk about dogs long enough, you will come to the subject of poop. Yes, we humans refer to this as bathroom talk. I only bring it up now because for months we have been working with Miss Sweetie to view the whole of outdoors as her bathroom and indoors as off limits for that type of activity.

It has been a challenge, a long battle, and on various weeks, we thought we had won the fight, only to have a setback, a retreat, if you will, into old bad habits. You see, at a mysterious point in her young life, Miss Sweetie had a crate accident and came to associate her crate with her bathroom.

Solitary trips outside without the other dogs helped. When she is outside with the others, it is time for play-play, not poo-poo, and she never gets down to business.

After months of training, we still have the occasional incident. It seems that Miss Sweetie does not want to bother us by asking to be let out, so she silently takes care of her needs indoors, usually in her crate. We have tried the cleaning solutions, putting her food in her crate, lavish, instant praise, and other suggestions by internet dog poop gurus, and things are going much better.

Still, poop happens.

I walk around outside with Miss Sweetie, just the two of us, so that there are no bulldog distractions. Every morning, you can hear me encouraging her, saying words I never intended in my life to say to anyone.

“Poop! Go ahead. You can poop. You can do it. Anytime now. It’s fine. Just pick your favorite spot. Or a new spot. Any spot. Poop. This is your time.This is your moment.”

I sincerely hope no one is within earshot during these sessions.  I can hear them now. “There goes that poor woman who thinks she has to talk her dog into pooping.”

After minutes…and minutes…and minutes of sniffing, visiting with the chickens, taste-testing new sticks, pointing her smooshy face skyward to catch the latest scent on the wind, Miss Sweetie ambles away from me, on a poop quest at last, and secretly I rejoice.

So what have I learned from this?

That if I want people to be patient with me, I need to be patient with them.

 That some things can’t be rushed.

That it’s perfectly all right not to be in a hurry.

That while I do not want to smell poop, I need to slow down and smell the morning air.

That I can wait for my first cup of coffee/tea a few more minutes.(Flexibility is good. I’m not going to die.)

That not everything responds instantly to my command. (Who do I think I am anyway?And what am I rushing off to? Get real. It is probably no more interesting than waiting for a dog to poop.)

I keep coming back to this:

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting                                  nothing. (James 1:4 KJV)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.








Stella’s Blog – An Open Letter to My Sister, Snoopey

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

This is an open letter to my sister, Snoopey McLoud BarkyFace:

Dear Snoopey:

Shut up!!!

You are so tense. Every noise, every hint of a noise, every time one of the humans comes or goes, up you jump and loudly you bark. Now you have me jumping up whenever you jump up. Declare an end to the stupid! I have only had two 10-hour naps today and I am sleep deprived. All thanks to you.

The humans are under pressure because of bad things that happened within miles, but not in our backyard. They are sad and that’s when they need us the most. If you are tense because they are, get over it. Jumping up to bark every few minutes won’t help anybody and, more importantly, it ticks me off!

It is late. Listen to me. I am your sister and I love you. Well, maybe, most of the time. Don’t get any ideas of taking advantage. No treat sharing or toy sharing, so don’t even ask. Sharing is for puppies and sister love extends only so far.

GO TO SLEEP! PLEASE! You will feel better in the morning. If not, we can find an island where you can go on a nice vacation and sunbathe on the warm sand. Lady Human tells me that such places exist. I don’t know that they are dog islands though, so you will probably have to get something called a “passport”.

Good Night, Snoopey! Sweet dreams. Everything will be all right.

Love (sort of),

Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges (and your sister)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


When You Don’t Know What to Say, Pray – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella. I am an Olde English Bulldogge. In fact, I am their queen. For those who don’t know me, that was my introduction.  My question today is

The humans are sad. Why?

Me:        Something terrible took place last night not many miles from where we are.

Stella:    I don’t understand.  How far is “miles”? Did it happen in our backyard?

Me:        No, but it feels as though it did.

Stella:    Did it happen to us?

Me:        As hard as this may be for you to comprehend, it happened to all of us.

Stella:    I don’t feel different. And when I woke up this morning, I counted and all of us were here, bulldogs and humans. Even the cat.

Me:        Not every family can say that.

Stella:    Tell me the truth. Did some bulldogs get loose and run wild?

Me:        No, nothing like that.

Stella:    So it is not our fault?

Me:        No.

Stella:    That is a relief. I always feel guilty when dogs cause a problem. I want to stop problems, not cause them.

Me:        Me, too.

Stella:    Was it a storm? Because those can cause problems and I don’t know how to stop them either.

Me:        It was like a storm, but humans caused it.

Stella:    But humans don’t like storms! Why would humans cause one?

Me:        Hatred. Confusion. Mistrust. Do you remember when Tiger came to us and why?

Stella:    Yes, a dog attacked Tiger and hurt her so badly that she almost crossed over. Was what happened last night like that, but it was not done by dogs, but by humans?

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    But humans are supposed to have more understanding than we do. Humans are supposed to know better.

Me:        We don’t apparently. Not by a long shot.

Stella:    But the Great Creator put humans in charge and we are all subject to you. Stop the human-made storms! What are you going to do?

Me:        Pray. And keep praying. Never stop. Even if things look all right. Ask the LORD and obey what He says. And never give up. Never. Never. Never.

Stella:    What can I do?

Me:        Be yourself, Stella. That’s what God created you to do.

Stella:    How can that help?

Me:        We need to smile again. And laugh. That’s another part of this life that God has given us. And that, Stella, is where you come in.

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”  (James 3:3 KJV)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Stop the Noise! I Can’t Think! – Conversations with Stella

The noise level in the house has increased ten-fold this week. Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge, may be able to shed light on why.

Stella:   Not our fault. Totally falls on the humans’ shoulders. What did you think would happen when you brought a long red pole with a sponge on it into the house? Who can stand such a thing?

Me:        It’s a mop. How are we supposed to mop the floor without a mop?

Stella:   Stick a towel on your feet and skate. I’ve seen you do that before.

Me:        On a small area. Not on the whole floor. And you didn’t just go nuts barking at the mop. Once you got your bucket kicked over, you all were barking at everything.

Stella:   Our barking is a public service. If you don’t want us to bark, don’t bring in strange things that fit on the end of long poles. We hate long, skinny stuff. And don’t bring around strange people either, no matter what shape they are.  We are not partial to strangers. It took us long enough to get used to you and Tall Man.

Me:        Well, with all the barking, I can’t think my way out of a box.

Stella:   Why would you be in a box?

Me:        It means that I can’t think through even simple problems.

Stella:   I am sorry, Lady Human. I am sorry that we are so annoying. We are bulldogs.

Me:        No, don’t be sorry, Stella. If it weren’t for your noise, things would be too quiet around here.

Stella:   As a favor to you, we will stop barking. For today only. Just to make room for your thinking. We don’t want you to be stuck in a box. Tomorrow we will recommence.

Me:        Can’t we make that bark stoppage permanent?

Stella:   Not if you insist on mopping.


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




Stella’s Blog – Why Are Humans Crazy?

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

Today’s question: Why are humans crazy?

I wish I understood humans better. Not just their long words that don’t translate into bulldoggese, but why they keep bringing in weird stuff that is scary.

The vacuum I understand. It is loud and annoying, but I now know that it will not suck me in. The humans use it to clean up dog hair. Dog hair is not a problem, but it is the humans’ time to waste so I don’t interfere.

The little round boxes that make a false wind are not a problem anymore either. They make us feel cooler and the wind is never strong enough to knock anything down. I will allow them to stay.

Then there are all the strange, loud things that Tall Man does outside. Roaring and sawing and banging. Buzzing that sounds like a giant bee. (Oh, no! Not giant insects! Not again! If we are really quiet, maybe they will go away.)

And now, the latest horror. A LONG RED POLE with a SPONGE attached to one end. Why is that so frightening? I HAVE NO IDEA, BUT IT IS!

How would you like it if a long red stick with a sponge showed up in your home and someone started dipping it in water and pushing it around the floor? Exactly! You wouldn’t like it at all. We sure didn’t. We barked and yelped and told it to leave. We didn’t care that Tall Man was the one pushing it. The awful pole with the sponge had fooled him into bringing into the house. I don’t know what it was up to, what its evil plan was, but all the bulldogs agreed that it needed to leave.

Of course, Moon the Cat was no help, as usual. She slept through the whole thing or pretended to. She may have planned the whole thing. How do we know what she is doing when she is out of sight?

How can we bulldogs stop these frightening things from happening? How long will the humans bring crazy, scary things into the house?

Well, at least things have settled down…wait, what is that in Tall Man’s hands? It is a LONG GREEN POLE with a SAW on the end of it. Humans! Will the nightmare never end?


Have a nice day!



Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Stella’s Blog – You Call This a Celebration?

This is Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

What was going on last night?

Boom-booms started after the sun went to bed. They rocked the sky for hours. I thought a big storm was roaring, but when I finally agreed to let Lady Human lead me out into the yard, no storm, no rain, no wind, just boom-booms and more boom-booms.

Tiger refused to go out; she was afraid of the sky booming. Ridiculous! Tiger, never pass up a chance to  go to the bathroom!

Lady Human did not seem nervous or afraid so I decided that I did not have to worry, but I got my business done in double quick time all the same.

I waited for her to tell me what was happening. When she didn’t, I stared at her until she got the point. Humans need hints. I didn’t understand all of her words, but she said that the humans were celebrating something big and the boom-booming was how they showed their joy.

That makes no sense. When bulldogs celebrate, we don’t make loud noises – oh, wait, we do, but barking is not nearly so loud and annoying and scary as boom-booming in the sky. How the humans were making the sky boom, I have no idea. Humans are very clever and are able to make things fly. They are also silly and waste their time on things that have nothing to do with food, treats, or toys.

Bulldogs know how to celebrate. We dance, we prance, we roll, we bark, we talk, we eat, we sleep, we sniff, we run, we slap with our paws, we chew, we burp, and we let air out in other ways not so popular.

Humans could learn a thing or two about celebrating from us.

Finally, the boom-booming slowed down. Then it stopped. The humans causing it had fallen asleep or had run out of loud noise makers. But a little later, the sky got loud again, and this time we saw light flash.  A storm had arrived. Thunder cracked and sky fire lit up everything. It went on and on.

The humans may disagree with me, but I think the Great Creator was celebrating with them.

Happy Celebrating, People!

Signed, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.