Why Do Humans Shoot Fire at the Sky? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen Illustrious of the Olde English Bulldogges, still crown-less, but that is not my problem tonight. Tonight, the humans are once again shooting loud, bright fireballs into the sky. Lady Human, what if you blow up the sky? I would not like that.

Me:        No one would. But that won’t happen. Fireworks will not blow up the whole sky. Stop worrying.

Stella:    I am always worried when humans are involved, especially when they are shooting fire. Why do humans do these things?

Me:        There is another celebration tonight. It is the end of the western calendar year, New Year’s Eve.

Stella:    I see. What is a calendar?

Me:        It is one way that humans use to calculate time.

Stella:    So tonight, time ends.

Me:        No, the calculation switches over to a new calendar year and a new month.

Stella:    I see. No, I don’t.

Me:        Let’s just say, humans will use any excuse for a party.

Stella:    So you promise that the sky will not go away tonight.

Me:        I promise. Of course, I am only a human. I am more willing to rely on God that the sky will still be here come sunrise. I am also willing to rely on Him for the sunrise.

Stella:    And He shot the sun into the sky so He knows a whole lot more about shooting fire into the sky than any silly old humans do! Thank you, Lady Human! What a relief! Humans aren’t in charge! Happy Calendar Change!



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




Human Barking – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Illustrious Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and I am in charge here. Whatever that horrible noise is, stop it now!

Snoopey: It sounds like a fake bulldog.

Stella:    It must stop! Now everybody is barking at it! Agghh! Now Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie are barking at each other! Wiggles! What are you barking at?

Wiggles:  Everybody else is barking. So…me, too!

Stella:    What started this?

Me:        It must have been me. I was gargling.

Stella:    Why would you do such a horrible thing? What is gargling and how can it be stopped?

Me:        It’s like juggling water in the back of my throat. It may help me get my whole voice back sooner.

Stella:    Wait! You found your voice? Was it in the back yard as I thought? Anyway, can you juggle the water in your throat someplace where it won’t bother the bulldogs? You heard the eruption.

Me:        Maybe. Maybe not. I think they will hear me anywhere in the house.

Stella:    Gargling must be human barking.

Me:        I don’t think so. I think human barking would be…well, barking. Or yelling. Gargling may not have a dog correlation.

Stella:    Dog correlation? You are being confusing again, Lady Human. Is that another horrible noise that we will be forced to bark at?

Me:        Are you ever really forced to bark at anything? Isn’t barking something that you choose to do?

Stella:    Are you ever really forced to gargle, Lady Human? Isn’t gargling something that you choose to do?

Me:        But I don’t gargle every day. And I don’t yell every day. I don’t even bark every day.

Stella:    To each his own. Wait again! What is that?

Me:        Sirens.

Stella:    Very well, Pack. Barking may commence.

Tiger:     (barking)

Snoopey: (barking)

Wiggles: (barking)

Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie: (barking at each other)

Stella:    You may recommence your gargling noise, Lady Human. It makes no difference now.




Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Bed Jumping

Hello, Stella. Oh, I mean Queen Stella of the Olde English Bulldogges, Illustrious and Noble. It sure is nice of you to visit my room.

Stella: It was nice of you to invite me.

Me: I have invited you many times. You seem to be nervous about it, the way you were about the hall when you first came. You never would walk down it.

Stella: The Dark Hall of Horrors?

Me: Not when the light was on.

Stella: No, then it was the Lighted Hall of Horrors.

Me: And you gradually got used to it. 

Stella: Yes, I love this long, crazy hall now.

Me: But not my room. Why?

Stella: Your room is weird. It smells weird, like a human.

Me: That’s as it should be, isn’t it?

Stella: Yes, but we don’t favor the flowery and sweet scents as much as humans do and your room stinks of those.

Me: Would you like to get up on my bed?

Stella: Yes. No. Yes. No.

Me: Snoopey loves it up here. She uses that cushion ramp I made and walks right up.

Stella: I know Snoopey, Lady Human. Snoopey does not walk. She storms, she invades, she pounds. Admit it.

Me: Yeah, okay. Anyway, she seems happy to be here. Why don’t you come on up and try it?

Stella: No.

Me: Why not?

Stella: It is the Squishy Quagmire Bulldog Trap. Bulldogs go in, but they don’t come out.

Me: Stella, you know that’s not true. Snoopey’s not stuck up here. Neither am I.

Stella: But what about me? I am a lot lighter than she is. Those cushy blankets may swallow me up and not let me go. 

Me: No way. Here. I brought you a treat.

Stella: Whaaattt?

Me: A treat. Just come up here and get it.

Stella: A trick.

Me: No trick. Where’s the trick?

Stella: A bribe! For shame, Lady Human!

Me: All right. A bribe, just to get you to try it.

Stella: Nyahnyahnyah. A delicious bribe. Hey, it’s not so bad up here. Where do you keep the treats? 
In Memory of Boomer – until we meet in the land of no more partings.

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved

Quiet! Don’t Speak! I’ll Do the Talking – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen and Illustrious Old English Bulldogge, and I demand to know what you were up to for most of the day, Lady Human. You were not responding to our beck and call. What is beck anyway?

Me:        I was resting.

Stella:    Why are you whispering?

Me:        I have laryngitis.

Stella:    Really? May I have some?

Me:        Laryngitis means my vocal chords are inflamed and I have lost my voice.

Stella:    Inflamed! Who set them on fire? Let me at ‘em! I’ll teach them not to set things that are not theirs on fire! Where did you lose your voice? Was it in the back yard? I can organize the bulldogs into a search party. Point us in the right direction and we will find your voice for you. Of course, I will have to make clear that no one is to eat it if they find it. You know how bulldogs are.

Me:        Yes. As in Miss Sweetie eating the paper towel.

Stella:    Sweetie is too young to have good taste yet. At least her stomach had the good sense to throw it up.

Me:        I’ll need your help until my voice comes back.

Stella:    Your quiet, indoor voice whispering will be fine. You know how obedient we are…Right? Lady Human?…Oh, I understand. You are being quiet because your voice is still lost out there in the yard. Never fear. I will use my royal voice on your behalf.

Me:        Okay, first things first. No cat chasing.

Stella:    I beg your pardon.

Me:        You have it since you are the main cat chaser.

Stella:    I’m sorry. I couldn’t quite hear that.

Me:        You heard me, Stella.

Stella:    No. You are speaking so quietly.

Me:        Then let me repeat myself.

Stella:    Please don’t.

Me:        No cat chasing. That stirs everyone up and is not helpful to me at all.

Stella:    Cat chasing is a tradition among my people. You would not interfere with a cultural tradition, would you? Of course not.

Me:        Stella!

Stella:    Wow! Your whispers can be very loud.




Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.








Stella’s Night Before Christmas – Conversations with the Pack

I am Stella, Queen Illustrious of the Old English Bulldogges, and poet.

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, every bulldog was stirring because someone smelled a mouse.

 Tiger:     It was a rat! They smell different from mice.

Stella:    Show off!

Snoopey:  It’s not in the house. It’s in the outside world.

Tiger:     Why can I smell it so strongly then?

Snoopey:  It stinks! And as much as I hate to admit it, you have a good nose. As do I! Don’t get any ideas about becoming pack leader!

Stella:    Stop! Enough politics!

Miss Sweetie:    We should all bark at it. We should all bark at everything.

Stella:    Sweetie, that’s your only solution for anything. Now everybody settle down. I am trying to write a Christmas poem for Lady Human and Tall Man.

The humans are nestled all snug in their beds while vast herds of bulldogs romp through their heads.

Wiggles:  Bulldogs romping. Haha! I want to romp.

Snoopey: In humans’ heads? That sounds painful. No, take that line out.

Stella:    My poem! My words!

When out on the patio, there arose such a loud clatter that I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Well, not ‘sprang’, not really. More like I sat up gradually and looked around.

Tiger:     It’s that rat! I told you.

Snoopey:  Wait! It’s not that fat, bearded man in the furry suit, is it?

Wiggles:  The humans on the Picture Box said that he would come down the chimney. I don’t want anybody coming down the chimney. Especially a fat human. He might get stuck.

Stella:    We don’t let regular strangers in the house. Why would we allow a stranger to come down the chimney? Oh, great! This Christmas thing isn’t fun. Now we’re going to have to sit up all night on guard to make sure the furry red suit guy doesn’t invade the house by way of the chimney.

Tiger:     I’ll take first watch.

Snoopey:  You will not! I will!

Stella:  Doodlebug, you take third watch. Doodlebug? Doodlebug!

Wiggles:  Doodlebug fell asleep. He is dreaming his Christmas vision of bulldogs romping through his head.

Stella:    Okay, I’ll finish the poem later. Let’s try a song.

Bulldogs guarding by an open fire. Jack Frost nowhere to be found. Yuletide carols being sung by a…

What are ‘Yuletide carols’? And how does that fat, bearded guy in the furry red suit come down the chimney when there is a fire burning in the fireplace. Never mind. We need to do more research on Christmas before we can help the humans celebrate.

Wiggles:  I know the best way to celebrate with the humans. My big wet tongue is ready for their salty faces. Merry Christmas, bulldogs!



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.









Holiday Indigestion – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Crown-less Queen Stella, but queen nonetheless. Once upon a time, about 10 minutes ago, I told Wiggles to shut up. And yes, I used the words, ‘Shut up!’ She was whining for no reason. It was very annoying. After about 5 tries, she stopped. Now I have indigestion.

Me:        You shouldn’t allow yourself to get so upset over little things like Wiggles’ whining.

Stella:    So say you who let silly humans upset you with their silly cars.

Me:        All right. I admit it. But still, Wiggles is your half-sister. Why do you let her upset you so much?

Stella:    I care how my sisters act. I care when they act up. It reflects badly on my whole bulldog family.

Me:        I understand.

Stella:    You do? Do you have sisters who act up and embarrass your family?

Me:        No, I don’t have any siblings. I am what humans call an ‘only child’. Other people embarrass me. Occasionally, I embarrass me.

Stella:    No siblings. That means no sisters or brothers, right? That is so cool. You were a litter of one? I can only imagine how wonderful that must have been.

Me:        Not really. There are times that I wish that I had that experience.

Stella:    No, you don’t. There are times that I dream of having no siblings. Snoopey and Wiggles are the only ones I still see. The others have spread out through the earth. I wish them well, but they still caused indigestion when I was growing up.

Me:        Let’s decide to have an indigestion-free holiday. No stress. No pressure. Just peace and calm and rest. That’s what the Great Creator wants for us all.

Stella:    Really?

Me:        I guarantee it.

Stella:    No indigestion?

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    No stressing out.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    Imagine that.

Me:        I try.





Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Stella’s Christmas Rant – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, shall now begin my Christmas rant. Ranting is not reserved for humans alone. I have plenty about which to rant.

Me:        Like what? You have not been out in the crowds.

Stella:    If you wish more ranting time, you have my royal permission. Go ahead. I will add mine later. Rant on!

Me:        The people walking in front of me at the grocery store crept along like snails. So slowly.

Stella:    Yes, slow humans. Everyone should have a bulldog pulling them along. What else?

Me:        “No, ma’am! You can’t get three of the same item on that one coupon!”

Stella:    No, ma’am! You can’t! What is a coupon?

Me:        “No, sir! If there are no more, there are no more!” Hey, guy! They ran out! Move along!

Stella:    Yes, move along there, human! Wait? What did they run out of? Not our treats again, I hope!

Me:        And then there were the people who insisted on blocking the store aisles so they could get a picture of their pet with Santa Claus.

Stella:    The big bearded man in the red furry suit? He takes pictures with animals? Really? But on the other hand, is it a good idea to put your animal in the lap of a bearded stranger? Do I really want my picture made with a guy I don’t know?

Me:        Humans like it. I simply wanted them to move out of my way.

Stella:    Did you call someone an ugly name this time?

Me:        No. I went shopping in a better frame of mind and I exercised self-control. Well, some self-control.

Stella:    But not enough to keep from ranting. Merry Christmas, Lady Human! My turn to rant! My turn! Miss Sweetie ate a greasy paper towel and threw up all over the place. Not very Christmasy. Christmas is supposed to smell good.

Me:        Yeah, she dug deep in the trash and pulled one out. Thanks be to God, she threw it up and is feeling better now.

Stella:    Don’t do the crime and you won’t do the time. Why trash dive when we have all this good food?

Me:        It’s in her nature. And you are not complaining about your food?

Stella:    Oh, that’s right! Food rant! I have seen all kinds of special food come in, but we are eating the same old thing, day in and day out. Where are our cool goodies?

Me:        You all get treats.

Stella:    Not red and green ones. Just dull old brown ones. Where is our bulldog Christmas?

Me:        We’ll work on that. You shouldn’t eat everything we eat.

Stella:    You shouldn’t eat everything that you eat. Rant!





Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Christmas Rant – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, beg everyone’s pardon. Apparently, Lady Human has something that she wishes to say. Proceed, Lady Human.

Me:        I’ve had it. This is my rant. It is long overdue. Here it comes! I HATE CHRISTMAS! No, that’s not true. I like Christmas. I hate what we’ve done to it. I hate the stupidity of how we celebrate and how I have allowed it to affect me.

Stella:    Rant! Rant! Rant! Rant! I love rants! Go on.

Me:        I was stuck at an intersection because all these silly people decided that they had to get their cars washed on the last Saturday before Christmas Eve. REALLY? And on a day when the temperature was expected to drop 52 degrees. From 73 degrees, down to 19 degrees. Who does that? I mean REALLY! WHO DOES THAT? The whole intersection was blocked and the silly woman in front of me – all right, maybe she wasn’t a silly woman, maybe she was just confused, but it was silly that she wouldn’t move at all and REALLY? Did she think that the situation was going to change? DECIDE! MOVE IN A DIRECTION! ANY DIRECTION! LOOK! YOU JUST LOST ANOTHER GREEN LIGHT! WHAT DOES THAT MAKE? FIVE?

Stella:    Was it five? I can count to five. One, two, three, four, five…that’s a lot. This is so exciting! What happened then?

Me:        Then, she finally moved. And I got out of the intersection, too. I was so stupid to go out in holiday traffic.

Stella:    Stupid. Yes. Yes, you were. So human of you.

Me:        And I called her an ugly name. She couldn’t hear me, but that didn’t matter. Not Christian of me. Not Christmasy.

Stella:    I love ugly names! I have a secret, ugly name for each of the bulldogs. Someday, I may share them with you, but you can’t tell the others. Rant on!

Me:        My patience level should have been higher. My attitude should have been better. I was naughty, not nice.

Stella:    Oh, Lady Human, did you fall off the list of that fat, bearded man in the red suit? Wait, is this still a rant? Because it doesn’t sound very ranty anymore.

Me:        I’m just mad at myself for acting up, for having a bad attitude, being selfish, and impatient.

Stella:    Boy, Lady Human, you really were naughty. You should fall off that nice list. You have me tired simply hearing about it. Nap time! We’ll rant more later.



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Blue Norther = Blue Nose – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges and I am not happy. I just thought everyone should know. Why should I keep my misery to myself?

Me:        What misery are we talking about this time?

Stella:    Haven’t you noticed? Don’t you feel it?

Me:        Well, if you’re talking about the weather…

Stella:    Those boxes that Tall Man put in the windows have frozen everything including my feet. They must be turned off immediately. Once upon a time a few hours ago, the air was fine. Now your boxes are forming icicles on my eyelashes.

Me:        First, those boxes are air conditioner window units and they are not on. They haven’t been for some weeks. Secondly, the air conditioners cool the air inside the house, not outside. What you are experiencing is a Blue Norther, a strong cold front that just roared in.

Stella:    Feel my toes. If I could guess a color, I would say they are blue. See what your Blue Norther has done.

Me:        It’s not my Blue Norther. It’s a weather front. I’m cold, too, so the sooner you get business done out here, the sooner we can get back inside.

Stella:    Oh, no! Something terrible is happening in my nose. When I breathe, smoke comes out! Smoke! My nose is on fire and freezing at the same time! Look! A big cloudy puff and it came right out of my bulldoggy nose. Lady Human, this is an emergency! Do something!

Me:        Stella, you do something and we can go back inside. And that is not smoke coming out of your nose. It’s the moisture in your breath condensing in the cold air.

Stella:    Make it stop!

Me:        If you think it’s cold now, wait until morning. The temperature is supposed to drop another 17 degrees or so.

Stella:    And you expect me to go the bathroom out here in a frozen wasteland! What if EVERYTHING freezes! Noooo!

Me:        I don’t think things work that way.

Stella:    If Tall Man can install cold air boxes in the windows, he can install a warm air bulldog bathroom inside. Make that two. I need my privacy. The others can share. I am Queen. I hereby decree it. Have the plans on my desk tomorrow.

Me:        Your desk? You have a desk?

Stella:     I’ll take the one in the front room. Every queen needs a desk. And a crown, remember?




Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.







Do What the Ancient Romans Do – Conversations with Stella

Hello! I am Stella. I am an Olde English Bulldogge. I am a Queen. I am Illustrious. I am Noble. And my Lady Human is looking at me weird which means she has a question on her head.

Me:        In my head, not on it.

Stella:    Uh-oh. How will you get it out?

Me:        I will ask it.

Stella:    So questions come from the mouth part of your head.

Me:        Questions form in my mind and then my brain communicates them through my mouth.

Stella:    I don’t have that problem. All the parts of my head work together at the same time. It’s one big head. What question does your mouth want to ask?

Me:        I’ve been noticing that you hardly ever stand up when you eat. You lie down next to your bowl and grab a mouthful every now and then.

Stella:    It’s the best way. I’ve seen you do it yourself except you balance your bowl on your stomach. That’s hard for a bulldog. Round belly. No hands. Besides, it is easier to watch the Picture Box.

Me:        Your reclining reminded me of the Ancient Romans. They reclined on couches when they ate.

Stella:    Ancient Romans. Are they bulldogs?

Me:        No, they were humans who lived a long, long time ago.

Stella:    That’s not nearly so cool. Humans are boring.

Me:        It was probably only the rich and the Caesars who did that.

Stella:    See-sars. Like those things at the park that go up and down?

Me:        No. Caesars were leaders, more like…

Stella:    QUEENS!

Me:        Uh-oh. Well, kings. Never mind. Forget I said anything. I’m sorry I brought it up.

Stella:    I am eating like ancient Roman queens. I knew it ran in the family.



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Bulldog Thinking – Conversations with Stella

Shhhh! Everybody be quiet! I am Stella, Queen of the Illustrious Olde English Bulldogges. I think Lady Human is asleep. I know what sleeping looks like because bulldogs sleep a lot. Just about any time, I can look around and see a bulldog snoozing and snoring. We are famous for it.

Me:        I’m not asleep.

Stella:    Shhhh! Go back to sleep, Lady Human.

Me:        I can’t go back to sleep because I was not asleep.

Stella:    Were you trying to fool me?

Me:        No, I was thinking with my eyes closed.

Stella:    Thinking about what?

Me:        Stuff. Nothing. Everything.

Stella:    That’s a lot. No wonder you closed your eyes. Why so much thinking?

Me:        Humans overthink everything. Thinking is how we spend most of our time.

Stella:    Then why aren’t things way better?

Me:        Just because someone has a thought doesn’t mean it is an intelligent thought. Or useful. Or helpful. Or any good.

Stella:    Is that more of that overthinking?

Me:        Maybe.

Stella:    Bulldogs don’t have that problem. We don’t overthink anything. We think about food. And treats which are also food. And what food tastes like. And how food feels in our stomachs. And what food smells like. And what food looks like. And when we will see food again. But we don’t overthink anything so I guess we are better off than humans.

Me:        Stella, I am tired of thinking about all of it.

Stella:    Then go back to sleep, Lady Human. No more thinking. Night. Night. We will do the thinking for you.

Me:        Uh-oh.



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Driver’s Seat for Drivers Only – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, of the Olde English Bulldogges, Queen, enjoyed an illustrious lunch from my friends at The Bomb Fried Pies. Lady Human drove me to their trailer where they shared with me fried baloney, the best of all kinds of baloney, certainly better than what the humans call ‘a bunch of baloney’ which, from what I can tell, is just a lot of silly human talk and has nothing to do with meat at all.


It would have been an illustrious day had it not been for what happened when we got back to the Little Rolling Box on Wheels.

Me:        I thought the whole day was fairly routine.

Stella:    You don’t even remember the insult, do you?

Me:        Nobody insulted you. That one gentleman pointed out how pretty you are and the Fried Pie ladies were happy to see you.

Stella:    Not them, Lady Human. Your insult!

Me:        Oh, great, what did I do?

Stella:    It hurts my feelings to think about it. And you don’t even remember.

Me:        If this goes on much longer, Stella, I am going to take a nap like the others. Wait. Is this about when you climbed into the driver’s seat before I could jump into the car?

Stella:    Hmmmpph! You wouldn’t let me sit there.

Me:        That was no insult. That was common sense. You weigh 51 pounds.

Stella:    Are you calling me fat?

Me:        No, you are perfect, but you barely fit by yourself in the passenger seat as it is. There is no way you and I both can sit in the driver’s seat.

Stella:    How much do you weigh? Maybe you’re the problem.

Me:        Not the issue. You are not allowed to ride in the driver’s seat. It’s not safe. It’s not comfortable. On top of that, the wind was cold and I was standing outside my own car, arguing with a bulldog who would not get out of my seat.

Stella:    ‘Move over! Move over!’ That was no argument. That was just plain rude.

Me:        I had asked politely the first 5 times. I finally had to sit down sideways on the edge of the driver’s seat and inch backward until you gave in.

Stella:    I had to give in. You were sucking up all the space. The whole affair almost made me sorry that we went to get the fried baloney. Almost…Just you wait until I grow up and get my own car.

Me:        I don’t believe that will happen.

Stella:    Why not?

Me:        Your insurance rates would be too high.

Stella:    Oh. All right then. You have my permission to keep driving me to get fried baloney. I still say the driver’s seat is mine.

Me:         You may have a point, Stella.




Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




Bulldog Priorities – Conversations with Stella

Hello! I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, Illustrious and Noble and still crown-less. And might I add Stella the Cat Catcher. All I can say is OW!

Me:        And you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Stella:    You didn’t tell me that cat claws hurt.

Me:        Did you think that they were purely decorative? I warned you not to chase Moon the Cat. You chose to do that instead of getting petted. What was that about?

Stella:    First things first. Cat chasing, then pets and rubs and scratching. Human scratching does not hurt. Why do cat claws hurt?

Me:        Cat claws are functional weapons for defense and, if necessary, for catching food and establishing territorial boundaries. My fingernails, not so much. I told you…

Stella:    I know. I know. Don’t chase the cat.

Me:        She could have done a lot worse to you. You have a tiny blood pinprick on your nose and one on your muzzle.

Stella:    Ow. It doesn’t hurt so much now. Did she mess up my beautiful face?

Me:        Not at all. By tomorrow, no one will be able to tell that it happened, not even you. You understand what your mistake was, don’t you? The other bulldogs chase the cat and never have gotten swiped by her. You don’t just chase her; you insist on catching her.

Stella:    I never hurt her. I never bite. I just drool on her a little.

Me:        You could pull back at the last second and do a stare down the way the others do. But Noooo…not Stella the Cat Catcher.

Stella:    All right. All right. I am so embarrassed. For today only, my name is Stella the Cat-Scratched. Don’t say it in front of the others. It makes my ears cramp up just thinking about it. But tomorrow Stella the Cat Catcher will be back, bigger and bolder than ever. I know what I want for Christmas, Lady Human. A big scary mask and a helmet. CHARGE!

Me:        And I can get Moon the Cat a pair of cat-sized boxing gloves. That might save a lot of trouble.




Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Bulldog Manners 101 – ‘Scuse Me Again – Conversation with the Pack

I am Stella, Illustrious Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I hereby call bulldog class to order – again! This would not have been necessary if the bulldogs paid attention in our prior session. Instead, they decided to take naps.

Now hear this! No one naps during this course! If you do not intend to stay awake and pay attention for the whole class, there is no reason for you to be here.

Tiger:     Okay. See you later.

Wiggles: I agree. Bye.

Snoopey: Sounds good to me. Class dismissed.

Miss Sweetie: What? What’s happening?

Doodlebug: We’re free! Run!


Wiggles: (snore)

Stella:    Wiggles, wake up! Everybody, listen! We are going to learn manners so we can behave better around the humans!

Snoopey:  I behave just fine, thank you.

Stella:    Rule 1:  Keep your feet on the floor. Never slap a human with your feet. That means you, Snoopey.

Wiggles:  So Rule 1 is just for Snoopey? That means that I can slap any human I want to with my feet. Cool!

Stella:    No, Wiggles, it applies to you, too.

Doodlebug:  But it does not apply to…

Stella:    Yes, Doodlebug, Rule 1 applies to you. It applies to everyone. So does Rule 2. Never cut in front of a human with your big, round bulldog body. You could trip them. They don’t like to be tripped. They only have a maximum of 2 legs, not 4, so it is harder for them to stop themselves from falling.

Miss Sweetie:  Why don’t they just grow more legs?

Stella:    Oh, Sweetie. That’s not how we are made. There is so much for you to learn.

Snoopey:  Well, I don’t need to learn anything. Rule 1. Rule 2. Done and done.

Stella:    Not so fast, Sister. Rule 3: When a human says ‘Scuse me, they are simply being polite. What they mean is ‘GET OUT OF MY WAY!’ If they can be polite to us, we can at least be polite to them.

Tiger:  Blah, blah, blah. Tall Man likes it when I slap him with my paws and jump in front of him. He plays with me. If he starts to fall, I will catch him.

Stella:    The humans have an expression about stuff like you just said. Baloney.

Tiger:  What is baloney?

Stella:    It is a wonderful, delicious form of meat.

Tiger:     And I said baloney and it appears? Where is this baloney?

Stella:    I haven’t figured that out yet, but the humans don’t put great store in it. We will have to keep looking for it. Very well. Enough for today. Does anyone remember the Rules of Bulldog Manners thus far?

Wiggles:  No.

Tiger:  I wasn’t listening.

Snoopey:  I don’t care.

Doodlebug:  Run! Play! Run! Play!

Miss Sweetie:  Huh?

Stella:  Fine! Class dismissed!

Snoopey:  Finally! Not a moment too soon.



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.






‘Scuse Me – Bulldog Manners 101 – Conversation with the Pack

I, Illustrious Stella, Olde English Bulldogge Queen, hereby call bulldog class to order. Bulldogs, please listen to my illustrious instructions. Let us begin.

Wiggles:  Mwaaah. Nap time.

Stella:    No, Wiggles. Not nap time. Class time. Wiggles? Wiggles!

Wiggles: (snore)

Stella:    Wiggles! Wake up! You need this class as much as anybody! Oh, never mind!

Snoopey: Why do we need a class on manners? I use perfect manners with the humans.

Stella:    Oh, really, Sis? Like when you slap Lady Human on the leg with your oh-so-heavy paw after she has told you umpteen gillion times not to.

Snoopey: Umpteen gillion. You made that number up.

Tiger:     I agree with Wiggles. Nap time. Good evening.

Stella:    Tiger! No!

Tiger:     (snore)

Stella:    The most stubborn, uncooperative, pig-headed…

Doodlebug:  Don’t call yourself ugly names, Aunt Stella.

Stella:    Ggguurrrhhh! That’s Queen Stella to you, youngster! The younger generation has no respect. Sit down and listen!

Miss Sweetie:    Ggguurrrhhh! How was that, Aunt Stella? Is that how you do it? Did I show good manners? Do I sound like you? I look like you. I will listen to your class. Teach me. Ggguurrrhhh!

Stella:    Maybe tomorrow, Sweetie. And yes, you do a good imitation of me.

Snoopey:  As though anyone wants to hear that. Pack nap time! (snore)

Stella:    To be continued. (sigh)



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Why Are Trees Living in a Parking Lot? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen.

Me:        Is that all? Queen of what?

Stella:   Queen of all I see. And today I see a parking lot with trees growing in it. Many, many tall green trees. How did this happen? I am a dog and even I know that trees grow in the dirt.

Me:        Those are cut trees for Christmas. They aren’t growing there. They grew far away and were brought in by trucks.

Stella:    Why?

Me:        For Christmas trees.

Stella:    Why?

Me:        Because some people like to put up a fresh tree in the house for a decoration at this time of year.

Stella:    Why?

Me:        It’s an old tradition in some places.

Stella:    Places like parking lots?

Me:        No.

Stella:    Is this one of those weird human things?

Me:        Well, it’s a thing that some humans do, but the humans who do it are not weird. Necessarily.

Stella:    Are you going to bring a wild tree into our house, Lady Human?

Me:        No, I’m doing what I did last year and the year before. I have a tiny artificial tree that I put on a table and decorate.

Stella:    Why don’t you bring a big wild tree into our house? It would be so fun.

Me:        Bulldog fun. Can you imagine what a tree would look like after Miss Sweetie or Doodlebug had bulldog fun with it?

Stella:    Yes! Yes, I can! Best parking lot tree ever!



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

What Is That Ugly Thing on Your Head? – Conversations with Stella

Lady Human, hold very still. There is something on your head and I think it is alive.

Me:        Hello to you, too, Stella. There is nothing alive on my head, but thank you for caring. And staring.

Stella:    No, really, Lady Human. Don’t move! The thing on your head is fuzzy and wiggling. I think it is trying to eat your head. Here. Just bend down and let…me…hit…it…with my big paw.

Me:        I am not about to bend down so you can slap my head with your paw.

Stella:    But if I don’t get it now, it may be too late! What about your brain? You need your brain!

Me:        I am wearing an old knit cap from when I was in college many years ago. Tall Man found it today while we were cleaning out. It’s in good shape after all this time, don’t you think?


Stella:    No, I think not.

Me:        Aw, Stella, it was perfect timing. This is the first weekend that the weather has been cool enough to even consider wearing a knit hat. I think it looks good, sort of.

Stella:    No, I think not.

Me:        Are you a fashion critic now?

Stella:    I am a dog. If I am staring at something on your head, that means you have something weird on your head. Enough said. I still think it’s alive. Did you look inside to make sure a creature had not taken up residence before you simply plopped it on your head?

Me:        Of course, I did.

Stella:    Better check again.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    There is a fuzzy round knob on top. It is shaking. Lady Human! There may be a squirrel living in it. It would be just like a squirrel to sneak into a human’s hat.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    Even if it is empty, there is another great reason to take it off.

Me:        What?

Stella:    It’s ugly.

Me:        A matter of opinion.

Stella:    Aren’t we supposed to love others?

Me:        Yes.




Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Please Don’t Paw the Driver – Conversations with Stella

Stella and I are out on an errand run. It’s always fun traveling with a dog…Ow! Stella, don’t do that!

Stella:    Don’t do what?

Me:        Don’t hit me with your paw!

Stella:    I had to get your attention.

Me:        I can’t give you my attention. I am driving.

Stella:    You did not introduce me.

Me:        I said your name.

Stella:    Not good enough.

Me:        Ow! Stella, quit it! Don’t touch the driver. Ever.

Stella:    Why not?

Me:        It is distracting and drivers should not be distracted.

Stella:    Not even by those little black boxes that make funny noises?

Me:        Especially not by those.

Stella:    Then put yours away!

Me:        Oh, all right.

Stella:    Introduce me!

Me:        Ow! Don’t paw me!

Stella:    But I love you.

Me:        And that’s why you hit me?

Stella:    I didn’t hit you. I loved you with my rough, heavy paw.

Me:        If you keep it up, I will have to pull over and put you in the backseat.

Stella:    I will just paw at you from there. Introduce me.

Me:        Stella. Queen. Old English Bulldogge.

Stella:    What else?

Me:        Illustrious. Noble.

Stella:    Thank you. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Me:        You don’t know the challenges of driving.

Stella:    Well, at least I am having a good time.

Me:        That’s what it’s all about, Stella.



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Stop Staring At Me! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Illustrious Queen (yes, I said it again!) of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human and I are on an errand, a wonderful, wonderful errand to the feed store. Why? I’m glad you asked. We are going to pick up bulldog food. FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! FAH-LAH-LAH-LAH-LAH-LAH-LAH-LAH-FOOD! That’s a song that I just now made up.

Me:        Probably not.

Stella:    Yes, I did. I heard it on the car music box and they had the words all wrong. Except for the fah-lah-lah part. That was all right.

Me:        Please remember to be polite in the feed store. If any other dogs are in there, they are not your business. No bulldog leash tugging.

Stella:    I’ll be polite if they are polite. I am not putting up with rude.

Me:        Ignoring rudeness is not putting up with it. Ignoring rudeness is putting rudeness in its place. It’s nothing and other people’s rudeness isn’t your business.

Stella:    Stop staring at me!

Me:        I’m not staring at you.

Stella:    Not you. Those people in that car parked next to us. How rude! This is not a zoo! I am not an exhibit!

Me:        They are smiling at you.

Stella:    And look at that. They’re pointing at me! How would they like it if I pointed my stubby little toes at them? What? Now they are waving at me! Stop invading my space!

Me:        They like you. They think you are cute.

Stella:    Cute? How undignified! I am a queen!

Me:        You could still wave or smile. Real queens do.

Stella:    What do you mean ‘real queens’? Hmmpphh! Well, maybe one small…oh, look, they’re gone. Good. It’s about time.

“Love is not rude…” [I Corinthians 13:5 KJV]


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.