You’re a Human! Do Something! – Conversations with Stella

Me:        I caught Wiggles and Doodlebug trying to dig under the chicken house today. Water had been eroding a low spot on one side. I had placed two thick boards over the depression so that neither chickens nor dogs could work their way through. Today the boards had been moved and the dogs were paying more than casual interest in the depression.

Stella:    Why are you telling us this? It is so boring.

Me:        I think Wiggles and Doodlebug will try to dig under the chicken house to assault the chickens.

Stella:    Okay.

Me:        Not okay.

Stella:    The silly chickens will just have to run around like silly chickens, but they do that anyway so no harm, no foul.

Me:        Sorry. Harm and foul. The bulldogs won’t realize that they are too strong for the chickens. They mean to play, but the chickens are too delicate for their type of play. That’s why we built the chicken run and chicken house for them. The run has a hardware cloth floor to protect from burrowing animals, but the chicken house was a re-purposed kid’s fort and it has no sub-flooring.

Stella:    Boring!

Me:        You wanted to know.

Stella:    I didn’t really. I was just being polite. Aren’t you a human?

Me:        Yes. But when has that ever slowed a bulldog.

Stella:    You are a human. Do something! Fix the problem!

Me:        They have shifted every large rock I have placed out there.

Stella:    Use bigger rocks. Put more over the weak spot. Keep Wiggles and Doodlebug away from that place. YOU ARE A HUMAN! ACT LIKE ONE!

Me:        Being a human is tiring sometimes.

Stella:    So is being a bulldog. Why do you think we take so many naps?


Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Pouting Is An Art Form – Conversations with Stella

Hello. I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and I will not be saying much today because I am pouting and, to be effective, pouting must be done correctly. So there. Hmph!

Me:        Pouting. Pouting about what?

Stella:    Hmph!

Me:        Stella, what’s got you all pouty?

Stella:    Paahrrrr!

Me:        I see you blowing your cheeks out.

Stella:    Paahrrrr!

Me:        Here let me try. Pruhhh!

Stella:    No, not like that. It has to be done right to get a reaction. Like this – Paahrrrr! Blow your cheeks out more. Not so much lip fluttering.

Me:        Why so pouty?

Stella:    Hmph. I don’t have to answer that question.

Me:        Oh-kay. Well, I’m going to read a little and then take a nap. See you later.


Me:        I wonder if there is something good on TV. No, probably not.

Stella:    PAY ATTENTION! Pouting is no good unless somebody watches you do it. NO ONE CAN POUT ALONE!

Me:        I am glad you told me the rules. Now, if you’ll excuse me…

Stella:    NO! No excusing. Watch me pout. Pay attention to ME! I AM MAD! Well, not mad. I don’t want anyone to think that I am a “mad dog” because people don’t like “mad dogs” and I’m not a “mad dog”. I have had all my shots and…

Me:        I thought you weren’t going to talk much today. How about just admitting that you are pouting because I won’t let you jump on the cat and she is over on the couch right now, resting on her cat bed.

Stella:    Hmph! Pout. Pout. Pout. Hmph! All these people talking about a dog’s purpose. I’ll tell you what this bulldog’s purpose is – to chase that cat. And to pout when I don’t get my way. So here I am – Stella, the Cat-Chasing, Cat-Catching, Cat-Scratched, Pouting-Like-a-Boss Bulldog, being kept from fulfilling my bulldog purpose. Mwaah!

Me:        Hey, how about a treat?

Stella:    Sure! Give it here! You know napping may be one of my other purposes. I’ll pursue that one for a little while and get back to the other ones later.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Don’t You Dare Build That Wall! – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, hereby decree that the humans are forbidden from building a wall to keep me off the cat’s couch bed!

Me:        How about this? I hereby decree that you are forbidden from jumping on the cat’s bed again!

Stella:    Are you a queen? If you are not an official queen, you are not authorized to issue any decrees.

And who jumped on the cat? When did this happen?

Me:        Stella, you know what you did.

Stella:    She teased me. She mocked me with her little meowy voice.

Me:        I was right there. I heard no teasing.

Stella:    Yeah, well, I think your hearing is not as sharp as it used to be. You seem tuned out to cat noises.

Me:        I saw you staring at her and you ignored me when I called you. What you were planning was written all over your face.

Stella:    What? Who’s been writing on my face?

Me:        Before I could move to block you, up you went on the couch, standing over poor ole Moon, freaking her out of her cat mind…

Stella:    Not hard to do. She’s too sensitive. I didn’t even drool on her. This time.

Me:        And then you struck that pose that looked like you had just conquered Everest.

Stella:    Everest? Is that another cat?

Me:        No, it’s a big mountain. And yes, I am building a barrier so you can’t access the cat’s bed. Ever since you did that, the cat has been sticking to all her highest places.

Stella:    Like Everest? That’s all right. I can learn to mountain climb. Go ahead and build your wall, Lady Human. If I can climb a mountain, I can climb a wall.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Snorting is a Serious Matter – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, and if anyone should know about bulldog snorting, it should be me. My snorting is loud and impressive, evidence of my good bulldog breeding. Since the windy, branch-shaking day though, Lady Human has been imitating me and badly, all to make fun of me. I don’t like that. It’s not funny. It makes me mad. Stop it, Lady Human, stop it now!

Me:        Ah-choo!

Stella:    You did it again! No respect!

Me:        Ah-choo! I can’t stop.

Stella:    Of course, you can stop. You’ve never behaved this way before and I have known you for almost 2 days.

Me:        Ah…almost…2…years…choo!

Stella:    I don’t sound like that! My snorts are serious.

Me:        I am not mimicking you, honey. There is some allergen in the air. It blew in on Sunday and I’ve been breathing it in. I’ve been sneezing ever since.

Stella:    Stop breathing in.

Me:        I can’t stop breathing, Stella. Not a good idea.

Stella:    Oh. Yeah. Never mind. Then wear one of Tall Man’s giant insect masks.

Me:        If it weren’t so bulky, that might be a good idea. Do you believe me now that I am not trying to make fun of you?

Stella:    Yes. I am sorry that I doubted you, Lady Human. It’s just that with so many people making fun of bulldogs, it is hard to maintain any semblance of dignity.

Me:        Dignity is important to y’all, isn’t it?

Stella:    Of course. Isn’t it important to humans?

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    I have heard that some humans call us ‘the clowns of the dog world’. Others are afraid of us because of our size, our faces, our upside-down vampire teeth.

Me:        Like the lady at the feed store was afraid.

Stella:    Yes. I did not understand that. Everyone else has always given me a chance.

Me:        She ended up giving you a chance and you came through shining like a star. And don’t be concerned if people laugh at you, Stella. Be concerned when you forget how to laugh back.

Stella:    Lady Human?

Me:        Hmmm?

Stella:    Hahahahaha! You sound so funny when you snort! A-choo! A-choo! Do it again!



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Queen Stella’s Secret Instructions – Stella’s Blog

Hear ye! Hear ye! I, Stella, Illustrious Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, command the bulldogs to attend to my words. These instructions are for bulldogs only and shall not be shared outside the confines of my palace. In other words, this is a secret. Don’t tell the humans because it is about them.

Transcriptionist:  Don’t you think it is a bad idea to have a human transcribe your secret instructions that you are trying to keep from the humans?

 Stella:    What’s your point?

Transcriptionist:  How can your secret instructions be kept secret if you are having an outsider type them for you?

Stella:    Hmmm. That is…what was that word you taught me? Ah, a quandary. None of the bulldogs know how to type. I will have to type the words myself. Give me your black typing box.

Transcriptionist:  I beg your pardon.

 Stella:    Granted. Now give me your black typing box.

Transcriptionist:  Nope.

Stella:    Oh, you are waiting for me to use that ‘magic’ word. Very well. Give it to me NOW! Is that better?

Transcriptionist:  Nope.

Stella:    Oh, all right! Here they are. Don’t tell anyone except a bulldog!

The quickest way to a human’s sympathies is a hang dog look. Look pitiful especially if you have done something wrong and you know it. Most humans are very forgiving creatures and they can’t stand to see us look sad.

If you don’t want to follow a human’s command, tilt your head to one side like you don’t understand even if you do. They think that is adorable and will usually let you off the hook so you can go on doing whatever it is that you were doing.

Now this next one is so super-secret that it must be put into bulldoggese. Deeknsoingnoindooorgonieing raharuh mwaahhh. And that’s it. Plain as the nose on my face.

Transcriptionist:  You make me feel special, Stella, like the member of a bulldog club.

 Stella:    I’m glad you feel that you belong to us, Lady Human. There are other secret instructions, but they must wait until I meet a bulldog who can type, one with her very own black typing box. I had no idea that humans were so clingy to their stuff. Be more like bulldogs, Lady. Learn to share.


Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Chicken Conspiracy – Conversations with Stella

Stella:    Run! Run! Get away as fast as you can! You can thank me later. Me, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:        Stella, what’s wrong?

Stella:    Take a deep breath through your limited human nose.

Me:        Whoa! Who did that?

Stella:    Miss Sweetie. It was a gas attack.

Me:        Poor Miss Sweetie.

Stella:    Poor us, you mean. Run! Run for your lives! No, not you, Sweetie. You stay right there.

Me:        Our lives are not in danger.

Stella:    You could’ve fooled me.

Me:        Whoa, Sweetie! What did you eat?

Stella:    It’s the fault of the chickens. They pushed an egg out of their run. Right at her. On purpose. They know she has no self-control when it comes to their eggs. Wicked chickens.


Me:        Maybe they were being friendly.

Stella:    Friendly? Stinking up the whole world is friendly?

Me:        It’s not the whole world. It’s really just a few feet around Miss Sweetie.

Stella:    No, Lady Human, the chickens conspired to run us from the yard. I am a queen. Queens know when there is a conspiracy afoot.

Me:        Afoot? You have been watching too much Sherlock.

Stella:    Or have you been watching too much Sherlock? That may be part of their plan, too.

Me:        Why would they care if you are in the yard? They have their run and their house. They don’t even cross paths with you.

Stella:    Chickens are smarter than humans give them credit for being. They are planning a takeover. Do you see how they hunker down together like a big pile of fuzz? That’s when they discuss it. Oh no, maybe the squirrels are in on it!

Me:        Okay, time for some fresh air, Stella. I think the gas has gone to your head.

Stella:    That’s it! We need gas masks. Tell Tall Man to get some. Like the one he wears when he cuts the grass and pretends to be a giant insect. Bulldogs will not be outsmarted by chickens. We will defeat this conspiracy. We will all look like giant insects. I can’t wait to see what the chickens will have to say about that.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Bulldog Etiquette – How to Treat Cats – Conversations with the Pack

Me:        I am calling this meeting…

Stella:    Wait! No! I am the Olde English Bulldogge Queen. I call all pack meetings.

Me:        All right.

Stella:    Hmmm. Hmmm. Hmmm.

Me:        And…

Stella:    What?

Me:        Are you going to call the meeting?

Stella:    What meeting?

Me:        This meeting is to tell you all how you need to behave around the cat. Our cat. Any cat. Anywhere. Anytime.

Wiggles:  Like right now?

Me:        Yes.

Wiggles:  Like when the sun comes up?

Me:        Yes, Wiggles. In the morning, too.

Wiggles:  And the next sun rising?

Me:        Yes, Wiggles.

Wiggles:  And the next…

Stella:    Hush, Wiggles! Do you see where this is going, Lady Human? Nowhere! And the meeting hasn’t been called yet, Wiggles. Why are we even having a meeting?

Me:        Because of an incident the other day between you and Moon the cat.

Stella:    Oh. That. No meeting today. Everybody go about your business.

Me:        Here are the rules:

No sitting on the cat. No staring at the cat. No chasing the cat. No insulting the cat. No drooling on the cat. No jumping on the cat’s bed. No licking on the cat unless she says it’s all right which she won’t.

Stella:    Aw, Lady Human, not fair. The cat has beds all over the place, even places that aren’t cat beds.

Snoopey:  I do none of those things. The cat and I are on excellent terms. And as pack leader, I should be the one to call pack meetings.

Stella:    Queens outrank pack leaders.

Snoopey:  Nonsense.

Tiger:     I am the one who is really in charge of this pack.

Snoopey & Stella:  NO, YOU AREN’T!

Me:        They are right, Tiger. I am the one who is really in charge of this pack.

Stella:    Where is that written down?

Me:        Genesis.

Stella:    Have I read that?

Me:        If you doubt me, ask the Great Creator.

Stella:    Oh. Okay. Never mind. I’ll do that later.

Me:        Does everyone understand the rules?

Stella:    Pretty negative rules, if you ask me.

Miss Sweetie:    Can we do nice things for the cat?

Stella:    Like what, Sweetie?

Miss Sweetie:  If we find a dead rat, can we bring it to her? That would be a nice thing.

Stella:    No, I’d leave that alone.

Doodlebug:  What about sticks? Sticks make great gifts.

Stella:    Save your sticks for yourself, boy. They will be wasted on Moon. The ways of cats are beyond mysterious. That’s why I like to chase them – for research. Meeting adjourned.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Cat Sitting – Conversations with Stella

Me:        Stella, this morning, I was in the kitchen, calmly, methodically preparing my breakfast, when what to my wondering ears should sound but the excited, LOUD barking of bulldogs and an extremely annoyed feline cry from our cat, Moon.

Stella:    Yes, it was very exciting. And annoying. I don’t know why the cat was upset.

Me:        Perhaps because you were up on the couch…

Stella:    Yes.

Me:        On Moon’s cat bed…

Stella:    Yes.

Me:        SITTING ON HER!

Stella:    Please define ‘sitting on’.

Me:        Stella, your rear end was wedged up against her in the corner of the couch.

Stella:    That was not ‘sitting on’. That was sharing. We were sharing her cat bed. It has limited space so I had to squish into it which meant I had to squish into her.

Me:        Sitting or squishy sharing, Moon was not happy. Did she invite you to share her bed?

Stella:    Please define ‘invite’.

Me:         Did you get scratched?

Stella:    No. She tried, but all she could reach was my big ole bulldog behind and she couldn’t get through my thick bulldog hair.

Me:        Amazing.

Stella:    Yes, I am. I still don’t understand why she was upset.

Me:        You invaded her personal space.

Stella:    But I didn’t drool on her.

Me:        But you leaned on her.

Stella:    But I didn’t try to chew on her.

Me:        But your big bulldog body had her trapped.

Stella:    Yes. That was funny.

Me:        Not to her. Moon is an incredibly patient, tolerant cat to put up with all the bulldog nonsense that goes on around here.

Stella:    Which is really human nonsense, remember. The humans are in charge.


Me:        And another thing. The others just go up to her and touch noses or give her a sidelong glance and walk on. You seem to be the only one that moves in like a linebacker and tackles her if she doesn’t jump away in time.

Stella:    Was that a football reference, Lady Human? I love football.

Me:        We’re drifting off topic. My question is why are you the only bulldog who tries to make contact with the cat?

Stella:    Well, somebody has to get her to exercise.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.








Why Am I Peeing in the Rain? – Conversations with Stella

Me:        Why are we talking about bathroom issues again, Stella?

Stella:    Do you pee in the rain?

Me:        No, well, I’m not going to say never. I have been camping in the wilderness before, but…

Stella:    Well, I have for the last three days. So have we all, we bulldogs that is. If you get to pee inside when it rains, so should we.

Me:        The logistics are a little difficult.

Stella:    Logistics? Is that a word that means ‘peeing in the rain’? Because we want an indoor toilet. Humans understand these things. I know. I heard that man singing on the Picture Box about peeing in the rain.

Me:        Wait! When was that?

Stella:    That old singing movie you watch all the time on the Picture Box. He dances and sings about peeing.

Me:        No. No. No. No. He’s not ‘peeing in the rain’. He’s singing in the rain. Do you need your ears cleaned?

Stella:    Oh, that makes more sense because he seems happy and I am never happy and I never dance when I pee in the rain. I thought it was odd that you kept watching a movie about peeing in the rain when I never see humans do that.

Me:        I am sorry about the continued rain. It is supposed to start drying out tomorrow. Honestly, an indoor toilet for the bulldogs is not an option.

Stella:    Then somebody needs to tell Wiggles. She thinks the whole indoor/outdoor thing is a personal choice.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Queen Stella’s Wise Sayings – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, hereby share with everyone my Wise Sayings. No one has ever written down wise sayings before so I am unique.

Me:        There have been quite a few humans who have written down wise sayings. For example, King Solomon recorded Proverbs…

Stella:    My sayings are wiser.

Me:        Forgive my doubts. Proverbs is in the Bible. I’ll stick with that.

Stella:    Now hear this! Wise saying #1: Ankles are the wrists of the legs.

Me:        Okay, well, I guess so.

Stella:    Wise saying #2: Never touch fire. It is hot.

Me:        That is more of a safety tip.

Stella:    But a wise one. Wise saying #3: Letting a squirrel guard your nut trees is like letting a robber guard a human bank. In the end, your trees will end up nut-less. The way ours did.

How many kinds of nuts do humans keep in banks?

Me:        We don’t keep nuts in banks.

Stella:    Oh, that’s where you keep our treats before they go to the stores.

Me:        Nope. We keep money in banks.

Stella:    Money? What a waste! You can’t eat money. Oh, that’s wise saying #4: You can’t eat money.

You see how wise my sayings are?

Me:        Yes, and practical. Without you, I would never have known that I can’t eat money.

Stella:    Bulldogs are wise, Lady Human. You should listen to us more often.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Stella’s New List of Offenders : Did You Think I Would Forget? – Stella’s Blog

Hello! I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, even the ones who are not Illustrious or Noble, hereby post my latest List of Offenders. It has been quite a while since I listed offenders, not because there have been no offenders. There have been plenty. I have a lot of catching up to do.

In order of offensiveness,

Offender #1:      Miss Sweetie – She is still a teenager and, as such, does not know how to control her barking. She believes that she must comment on everything, no matter how unimportant. I think that she loves the sound of her own voice. I do not.

Transcriptionist: Stella, that’s mean! I thought you loved Sweetie.

Stella:    Of course, I love her. That’s beside the point. She talks too much. So do you, Transcriptionist. Silence!

Transcriptionist:  I know who I would elect as Offender #1 and it’s not Miss Sweetie.

 Stella:    Offender #2 – Lady Human who, although she is a human, does not know what the word ‘Silence’ means.

Transcriptionist:  Oh, I know what it means. I don’t acknowledge the right of a bulldog to use it to me.

 Stella:    Wrong again, Lady Human. Not just any bulldog. A bulldog queen. Now where was I? Oh, yes. Offender #3 – Snoopey. Whiney, whiney, whiney. ‘Where is this? Where is that? I’m bored. I’m tired. I’m hungry. I’m not hungry. I have gas.’ On and on and on. Hey, you get to sleep in Lady Human’s bed at night. How cool is that? What is that you are doing now? Facing the wall and pouting? Pout away. See my paws over my ears. Not listening…

Moving along. Offender #4 – Jerky McSquirrelyFace.

Transcriptionist:  So your arch nemesis is worthy of a mention on the List?

 Stella:    No! But he is still an offender though I refuse to honor him with his own list. 

 Transcriptionist:  And what has he done to earn his place on the List?

 Stella:    What hasn’t he done? You know, don’t you, that he uses the toilet in our yard? OUR YARD. That is our toilet and no one else’s. And then there’s all that tail flicking. Enough! The queen is tired. The List of Offenders could go on and on.

Transcriptionist:  Would your name end up on there eventually?

Stella:    Of course. Mine is the most important name on any list. I learned that from watching humans.


Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


You Call That a Crown? – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, supposedly Illustrious, supposedly Noble, have been humiliated.

Me:        I’m sorry, Stella. I truly am. I thought it was funny and you would like it.

Stella:    What is that monstrous thing that you put on my head?

Me:        A lady at a big pet supply store gave it to me around Christmas time. It was part of a promotion they were running.

Stella:    What you mean is that they were trying to make money from making dogs look stupid.

Me:        They just want people to have fun with their pets. It was too small for your big bulldoggy head. I had to sew an elastic extension so it would fit…

Stella:    Excuses! Excuses! ‘There is no crown, Stella, but look, I brought you a weird, stupid fuzzy thing to wear on your head and I even had to spend time sewing on it. Hahaha! Merry Christmas! And it’s not even Christmas time anymore.’

Me:        All right, I get it. It wasn’t funny to you. Wiggles liked it. She tried to steal it this afternoon.

Stella:    Yeah, Wiggles would. Well, no matter what Wiggles’ tastes in headgear are, I think it stinks and not in that good smelly way that dogs enjoy. And now I am going to have to wipe my face with my paws to get rid of the memory of that fuzzy thing being on my royal head.

Me:        I am sorry, Stella. No more weird fuzzy things on your head. I promise. And I will still come up with a crown for you.

Stella:    Yes, regarding crowns, I have a list of No’s: No fuzz! No pink – it is fine for crowns on little human girls, but not bulldog queens. No long dangly things unless they are legitimate chew sticks. No chin straps…

Me:        But how are we going to keep it on without…


Me:        You need a nap.

Stella:    I wouldn’t need one if SOMEONE I know had not tried to make me wear a fuzzy pointy thing on my head. Now, good evening. I’m going to take a nap.



Copyright 2017 H.J Hill All Rights Reserved.

I Don’t Get No Respect – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen Illustrious of the Olde English Bulldogges, but I don’t get no respect. No respect at all.

Me:        You mean you don’t get any respect.

Stella:    See! Even you know it.

Me:        Why do you think you aren’t respected?

Stella:    Look at the top of my head. Vacant! Do you see a crown, Lady Human? I will answer that. NO! No crown! A crown-less queen!

Me:        Okay, well…

Stella:    Another thing. I saw Jerky the Squirrel in the yard today.

Me:        That’s not unusual. He is normally around. The only time he leaves our place is when he runs to somebody else’s place to hunt pecans and acorns there. He and his friends have pretty much cleaned us over. The pickin’s are lean.

Stella:    Jerky McSquirrelyFace searching for a few stray acorns was not the problem. Guess where he was.

Me:        In the backyard. I saw him.

Stella:    Where in the backyard, Lady Human?

Me:        Under the red oak tree.

Stella:    UNDER the red oak tree! Not on the red oak tree. Not up in the branches of the red oak tree. On the ground! Of all the nerve! There we were, human and bulldogs, and he didn’t even have the decency to jump on a tree trunk. He didn’t even have the decency to pretend that he was afraid of us. No respect! I warned you, didn’t I? He has been taunting us since summer.

He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. Flying Stella, Squirrel Fighter and Cat Catcher.

Me:        You don’t have to worry about flying since he’s running on the ground.

Stella:    He still jumps on tree trunks and branches and fences. He is such a little cheater.

Me:        Jerky is a wild animal. He is pretty much going where he wants to. Put yourself in his place. He must be able to retreat.

Stella:    What about us? Where can we go to get away from him?

Me:        Inside the house. He’s not allowed in there.

Stella:    No, he isn’t, is he? The house is still my kingdom. My ever-shrinking kingdom. Lady Human, we need a bigger house.

Me:        Uh…

Stella:    A great big house with lots of rooms where no squirrels will ever be allowed.

Me:        Well, no squirrels will ever be allowed in our medium-sized house so…

Stella:    And the great big house will be my squirrel-less kingdom.

Me:        How about I work harder on getting you that crown you’ve been wanting?

Stella:    Okay. Fair trade.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Keep Your Old Stuff to Yourself – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen, Olde English Bulldogge, and many other interesting things. Hello! Lady Human has been working on a string sweater for me, but it has been going slowly.

Me:        Crochet, not string. And yes, it is going slowly. I am trying to make sure that it doesn’t come undone. But I have an interim solution.

Stella:    Is an interim solution the same thing as a sweater?

Me:        It means I have something that you can use in the meantime. I just have to put in some stitch work here and there and this old crocheted scarf can fit your bulldog neck as a cowl. It will cover your neck, chest, and shoulders…

Stella:    Whoa, Lady Human! Hold up there, horsey!

Me:        Okay.

Stella:    Did you say ‘old crocheted scarf’?

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    How old?

Me:        I made it for one of my girls when she was in college. It has her school colors. But it wasn’t great. I made it in haste and I wasn’t very practiced, so when she graduated, I got it back. I was going to rework it, but it has been sitting around untouched for a couple of years now.

Stella:    You have had it since before we came?

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    So, what is really happening is that you are giving me a hand-me-down. A HAND-ME-DOWN! It belonged to someone else. A HUMAN, no less! And she didn’t want it, so give it to poor ole Stella. She’ll take it. She won’t care. She’s a dog. She’ll take anything. Poor old Stella. A crown-less queen with a hand-me-down shawl in… what colors?

Me:        Maroon and white.

Stella:    Maroo?

Me:        Maroon. It’s a very dark red.

Stella:    Yuck.

Me:        Oh, Stella. It’s just a stopgap until your cape or shawl or sweater or whatever it ends up being is ready. But if you don’t want the scarf, I suppose I can fix it for Snoopey. She always acts so grateful. When she got her new collar last month, I thought she was going to dance for joy…

Stella:    All right, Lady. The human guilt trip worked. Thank you for the scarf. It will help on the very cold days. Thankfully, there may not be many more of those. Can I wear it out only when no one else is around? I mean, as queen, I set the bulldog fashion for the neighborhood. I don’t want to waste anything. What is that human saying that you use about waste?

Me:        Waste not, want not.

Stella:    Yes. The hand-me-down scarf I will waste not, but I want not. Why couldn’t your girl have gone to a school with better school colors?



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



The Sky Made Ice Cream! – Conversations with Stella

Hello! I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, on a most Illustrious Day. It is Sky Ice Cream Day! Ice cream for everyone. All you have to do is lick it up off the ground or off the bushes or off anything outside. It tastes a little plain, but that’s all right.

Me:        Yes, it snowed today. It has not snowed here since the day before you came to us, Stella.

Stella:    Isn’t it great? Will we have Sky Ice Cream every day?

Me:        No.

Stella:    Are you sure?

Me:        Pretty sure.

Stella:    How do you know things before they happen, Lady Human?

Me:        Weather satellites way up there, for one. And many winters spent here in this part of the world. Snow is rare.

Stella:    Is that why you bring ice cream home from the store?

Me:        Well, no. The one doesn’t really have to do with the other.

Stella:    So, the sky is where the store gets its ice cream?

Me:        No, they aren’t connected.

Stella:    So, will the sky ever give us peppermint ice cream? Because I really like peppermint.

Me:        Don’t hold your breath.

Stella:    Oh, I never hold my breath. Bulldog, remember? Breathing is very important. Without breathing, you can’t eat ice cream.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Are You Turning Into a Cat? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella. I am a queen. I am an Olde English Bulldogge. At least I know what I am. Lady Human, on the other hand, is acting weird.

Me:        Weird how? I’m not acting weird. I’m just being me.

Stella:    Why are you playing with string?

Me:        String? No, this is yarn. I am crocheting.

Stella:    It looks like string. You know who plays with string, don’t you? CATS! That’s who!

Me:        Well, this is crocheting and I am not a cat.

Stella:    Cat is as cat does.

Me:        Stella, humans don’t just turn into cats. Or dogs. This is crocheting. It is a human activity.

Stella:    Looks suspiciously like cat string play to me.

Me:        I was planning on making you a sweater. Does that sound like something a cat would do?

Stella:    Yes, a sneaky cat trying to tangle me up in a string ball.

Me:        I’m no cat and I am not trying to tangle you up in anything. I thought you might like a sweater for this cold weather.

Stella:    A sweater. That would be nice. Are you making one for yourself? We could be twins.

Me:        No, I have sweaters.

Stella:    What about one for Tall Man? We don’t want him to get cold.

Me:        No, not for Tall Man. Truthfully, my crocheting is not quite good enough for human tastes yet.

Stella:    Wait! Are you making a goofy sweater out of string to put on me? Am I an… what is that human word? An experiment? Am I an experiment? NOOOO!

Me:        If it doesn’t turn out or if it doesn’t fit, you don’t have to wear it.

Stella:    Promise?

Me:        Promise.

Stella:    All right. Deal. So long as you don’t keep taking up cat habits. And if you can make a sweater out of string, can you, maybe, when you have time…can you make me a crown?


Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Stella’s New Year’s Resolutions – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen Illustrious and Noble of the Olde English Bulldogges, hereby declare my resolutions for the New Year called 2017 by the humans. Before I begin, what is a resolution?

Me:        It’s a decision that you make to do some particular thing, such as to lose a certain amount of weight or to stop smoking or to exercise regularly. People use resolutions to state their intention to break an old bad habit or start a new good habit.

Stella:    So it is just humans thinking wishfully.

Me:        Well, more like humans thinking hopefully.

Stella:    I am glad I asked. It sounds like a waste of time.

Me:        People do it when they want to make a positive change.

Stella:    Bulldogs don’t sit around saying what they would like to change. They just do it. If a low branch is in my way, I don’t say, ‘Oh, I will work to move that branch out of my way.’ No! I take that silly branch in my teeth and shake it this way and that and snap! No branch in my way no more. No resolutions. Just bulldog action.

Me:        Some changes take a process.

Stella:    Bulldog process – grab it, shake it, snap it, done. Wait! I know some New Year’s Resolutions I can make. I resolve that Snoopey will stop making her whiny little noises. And I resolve that all the treats in the house should be offered to me first. And I resolve that Tiger will stop interrupting my naps with her snorting. And I resolve…

Me:        Actually, it doesn’t work that way. You resolve what you will do. You can’t resolve what someone else will do. They each must do that themselves. Believe me, I tried to set a goal last year that involved some other people and all I could do was carry out my part.

Stella:    You should have told me you were having that problem, Lady Human. As Queen, I could have ordered them to cooperate.

Me:        Stella, you are queen of some bulldogs and you can’t get them to cooperate. What hope do you have of getting humans to do what you want?

Stella:    BARK! BARK! BARK! BARK!

Me:         Whoa! What’s that? What do you want?

Stella:    That was me Loud Barking. It works all the time on humans. See how quickly it worked on you?



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Bed Jumping – Pros & Cons- Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Illustrious Olde English Bulldogges (which makes me Illustrious as well). Happy Calendar Change or, as the humans keep saying, Happy New Year!

I am weighing the benefits of accepting Lady Human’s invitation to jump on her bed.

Me:        Well, not just to jump on the bed. I thought you could share it sometimes. Not you and Snoopey at the same time. It is a twin bed so there’s not enough space for 79.4 lb. Snoopey and 51 lb. you and how ever much I weigh me.

Stella:    How much do you weigh?

Me:        Next subject, please.

Stella:    Okay. Reason for jumping on your bed #1 – I get to spend more time with you.

Me:        That’s sweet, Stella.

Stella:    Reason for not jumping on your bed #1 – Stinky, perfumey room.

Me:        Well, you can’t have everything.

Stella:    Reason for jumping on your bed #2 – I get to spend more time with you.

Me:        I like that reason.

Stella:    Reason for not jumping on your bed #2 – I would have to leave my crate and bed unguarded. I worry about what might happen to Mr. Long Blue Squishy Hound, Mr. Rhinoceros, Mr. Christmas Tree Puppy, Mr. Yellow Chicken, Mr. Green Gator…

Me:        I get the idea.

Stella:    I haven’t finished the list of my stuffies yet.

Me:        Yes, you have. We understand. Bed. Stuffies. Worried.

Stella:    That’s it! I can’t leave them, Lady Human! Who will take care of them if they have a nightmare in the dark? What if Miss Sweetie tries to make off with them into the outside world? No, I appreciate the invitation. I will take you up on it during the day, but my stuffies need me at night, so no bed jumping then. Snoopey will have your whole bed to herself.

Me:        She usually does.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.