Don’t Pat My Head! What Do You Think I am – A Dog?

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I must go over one of the main rules of bulldog etiquette (that means polite behavior). Apparently, the humans around here have forgotten that patting the top of my head is rude and will not be tolerated.

Me:        Since when?

Stella:    Since always. Haven’t you been paying attention?

Me:        I thought I had been, but you know me.

Stella:    I certainly do. You have forgotten and have started patting the top of my head again as though I am a dog or something that likes that sort of thing.

Me:        You are a dog.

Stella:    I… well…okay, I’ll give you that point. But I thought I had made it clear that I am a dog that does not like the top of my head to be petted. I don’t see how I could have made it clearer. I pull my head back and aside when you hand appears above me. I cuddle and lean into your hand when you rub my cheeks and under my neck. I even like it when you scratch that little space between my eyes.

Me:        All right. I’ll try to remember.

Stella:    No! There is no trying! Do or do not! Like that little green frog man said on the Picture Box.

Me:        Yoda?

Stella:    What is a yoda?

Me:        Never mind. Why is this top of head petting thing such a big deal to you? I’ve been petting you on the top of the head and you didn’t object.

Stella:    It’s a domination issue. When something is coming down on the top of my head, I can’t always see what it is and that makes me tense.

Me:        I understand.

Stella:    Now if you rub my cheek and end up rubbing my ears and the top of my head, that’s different. You humans are so tall. It feels like everything you do falls out of the sky. And while we are on the subject, sit down on my level. I am tired of craning my neck to look up at you. And don’t have that smelly stuff all over your hands when you pet me. I don’t want to smell sweet. It’s not dignified. I’m a bulldog, not a flower.

Me:        Anything else?

Stella:    Yes. Keep petting me.


Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Where Have You Been? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Nobody pulls the dog blanket over my eyes. Something went on today and I will have the truth!

Me:        Okay.

Stella:    I scent lots of dogs on you, Lady Human. Lots and lots of different dogs! Millions of nasal receptors cannot be wrong. Where have you been?

Me:        Uhhhmmm.

Stella:    Where have you been, Lady Human? Where have you been?

Me:        I went to a dog show. Specifically, a bulldog show.

Stella:    A bulldog show? Why?

Me:        Tall Man and I were invited by some friends who were showing dogs and we went. And it was very boring and nothing happened at all.

Stella:    Why are you saying that? There were bulldogs. It could not have been boring.

Me:        It was no big deal. There were some nice people and there were some beautiful dogs…

Stella:    Oh, I see.

Me:        Not that you all aren’t beautiful dogs. You are.

Stella:    I have seen those dogs at shows on the Picture Box. They are perfect. They run and prance. Their hair is lovely. I bet they smell good, too. I don’t look anything like they do.

Me:        Oh, Stella, pretty is as pretty does. Those dogs on TV look perfect because their handlers spend tons of time on their looks. I don’t care how you look.

Stella:    You never thought of taking me to one of those shows.

Me:        No, I didn’t. I just want to enjoy our life here. You can be clean and have your ears and face washed.

Stella:    Yuck!

Me:        You see! If you entered a show, there would be constant grooming and toenail trimming and…

Stella:    Yuck!

Me:        Exactly.

Stella:    You think I am ugly. Not pretty enough to show.

Me:        I admire those people and their animals, the ones that go to shows. I really do. There is an awful lot of work and diligence involved. And I’m not saying that I would never ever do it. But I am satisfied with us the way we are here. I don’t need a judge telling me that you are beautiful. I know that already. It doesn’t take a ribbon to tell me that you are a champion.

Stella:    They win ribbons? Are there treats?

Me:        No, I don’t think so.

Stella:    Never mind then. Waste of my time.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




Clean Hands, Clean Heart – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I hereby issue an edict. Lady Human must wash her hands before she touches me.

Me:        What? Why? I wash my hands a lot.

Stella:    Not from what I scented off you just now.

Me:        Well, somebody has to clean up around here.

Stella:    Don’t look at me!

Me:        I don’t.

Stella:    Get Sweetie to help you. She knows how to mop. But then she’ll need to wash her paws before she plays with me.

Me:        Okay. What about you when you go prancing through the dirt and mud? You don’t wash your paws before you start putting them on me.

Stella:    Different.

Me:        How?

Stella:    My paws are naturally clean.

Me:        Really?

Stella:    Here. Smell.

Me:        Uh, no thank you, but anyway.

Stella:    Here. Smell.

Me:        Uh, I don’t really smell anything but dog.

Stella:    See! I don’t stink. Now go wash your hands and you can pet me.

Me:        How gracious of you, Stella.

Stella:    Yes. Yes, it is. Now go wash your hands. I want to be petted. Clean hands, clean heart.

Me:        Where did you hear that?

Stella:    One of those things you were reading aloud out of that book that smells good like leather.

Me:        Oh, right. I guess I wasn’t listening to what I was reading. That’s from Psalm 24 in the Bible. But I don’t think it means that you will have a clean heart if you wash your hands.

Stella:    Clean heart or not, you are not petting me until you wash your hands.

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Make Up Your Mind – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and I have decided.

Me:        Are you sure?

Stella:    Yes. No. Yes. Maybe.

Me:        Just let me know when you know.

Stella:    All right. Okay. Now I am ready.

Me:        Good.

Stella:    No, wait! Yes. No. No. I don’t know.

Me:        You are not usually indecisive.

Stella:    What is ‘indecisive’?

Me:        Hesitancy or inability to decide.

Stella:    You decide for me.

Me:        Very well. Go on outside and pee.

Stella:    No! You can’t tell me what to do! Especially when it comes to peeing!

Me:        Then have you decided to stay in for now?

Stella:    Yes. No. Yes. Maybe.

Me:        Go or not, it is not really that big a deal.

Stella:    But what if I go out and one of the bulldogs gets my toys or licks my food bowl? You know how they are.

Me:        I will get the toy back and what’s the big deal if someone does lick your food bowl. It will still be your bowl and all the food in it will be yours.

Stella:    What if I go out and I don’t need to pee.

Me:        No big deal. You can pee later.

Stella:    But what if I don’t go out and you leave on one of your mysterious human trips and I do need to pee.

Me:        I have decided not to go out today at all, so I will be here if you need to go out later.

Stella:    How did you decide to stay in?

Me:        I looked at what I have to do. I realized that there was no real reason for me to go out. We have all the food, supplies, and, yes, treats that we need. Going out today will accomplish nothing necessary or enjoyable. I decided to stay here and work on things I should do here.

Stella:    So, I should look at what I need to do. I need to pee.

Me:        Very well. Decision made.

Stella:    No. Wait. Yes. No. Yes. Maybe.

Me:        Stella, go outside.

Stella:    Whew! What a relief! Thank you for deciding for me.

Me:        I think your bladder would have decided for you at some point anyway.

Stella:    What is a ‘bladder’?

Me:        Never mind.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

In Search of: Paper Towels – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human is searching for something, looking in every cabinet, high and low, up and down, over and under. What is missing?

Me:        Paper towels.

Stella:    Paper?

Me:        Paper.

Stella:    Towels?

Me:        Towels.

Stella:    Oh, the towels that you throw away. The towels that don’t go into the loud, obnoxious, rocking and rolling, jumping, walking, out of control washing machine. By all means, find the paper towels and spare us the ugly noise!

Me:        I prefer to use rags, but this needs to be a quick clean up.

Stella:    Don’t tell me. I already know. Miss Sweetie. Right?


Me:        Right.

Stella:    Because you left the room just as she was ready to, you know, ‘go’.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    Lady Human, don’t leave the room when she is ready to, you know, ‘go’. When you walk out, she gives up hope. She thinks that you will never come back. I have tried to tell her otherwise, but she doesn’t listen.

Me:        How well I know. I can’t find the paper towels. I guess we ran out. I’m just going to use rag towels. There.

Stella:    Lady Human.

Me:        I know, Stella. I have to mop it up.

Stella:    Uh, no, you don’t. Look.

Me:        I can’t believe it.

Stella:    I told you. Miss Sweetie is a bulldog genius.

Me:        She’s mopping up the mess herself. She really is.

Stella:    Those bulldog feet are good for something more than stomping around and pawing humans for attention.

Me:        She doesn’t like the mess any more than the rest of us do.

Stella:    Always remember, Lady Human. Don’t leave the room!



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Walk With Me – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and I have a complaint.

Me:        That is not news.

Stella:    Why do you repeat yourself so much?

Me:        One guess.

Stella:    Just one?

Me:        That’s all you should need.

Stella:    Hmmm. One guess. Let’s see. You repeat yourself because you never pay attention to what you are saying.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    Are you sure? How do you know?

Me:        I just know.

Stella:    Ohhhh. I used up my only guess, didn’t I? Pooh. What’s the answer?

Me:        I repeat myself to be heard. Either the bulldogs ignore me or are so loud that they can’t hear me.

Stella:    Oh, we don’t ignore you, Lady Human. We just don’t care what you have to say. But what is this sentence you keep using over and over with Miss Sweetie and Doodlebug? ‘Walk with me. Walk with me.’ Boring.

Me:        I am trying to train them to walk with me, not against me. I need them to stop rampaging through the house. When it is time to go outside, they need to walk along with me, not stop to chase the cat or sniff at every little thing or go running wildly or jump on the furniture. This is not a circus. This is our house.

Stella:    I thought this was a circus, only without elephants and tigers.

Me:        Even in a circus, there are rules.

Stella:    Repeating yourself will not get their attention.

Me:        You and the other grownup dogs don’t rampage. Well, not much.

Stella:    Sadly, rampaging through the house is for the very young.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Infernal Machines – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, hereby decree an end to the humans’ infernal machines.

Me:        What?

Stella:    There is a machine that is worse than all the others. A wicked device that groans and rocks and jumps and clunks. Here we are, innocent bulldogs, on a quiet afternoon, napping, chewing, snoring, dreaming. And then, all of a sudden, BANG, CLUNK, CLANG, BUMP, BUMP, BUMP, SLOSH…

Me:        Oh, that? The washing machine got out of balance.

Stella:    The washing machine gets ‘out of balance’ a lot. Out of balance. Is that even a thing?

Me:        Yes, especially with this washing machine and all the bulldog laundry it must process.

Stella:    Blame it on the bulldogs, yes. Whatever goes wrong is all our doing. The washing machine, as you call it, is a human invention, is it not?

Me:        Yes, but…

Stella:    And the washing machine, as you call it, washes human clothes, does it not?

Me:        Yes, but…

Stella:    So how is it that we bulldogs are to blame for its loud clunkiness?  Infernal human machines!

Me:        Your blankets and beds are so heavy and bulky that they throw the balance off during the spin cycle…

Stella:    Spin cycle. Blah. Blah. Blah. Is that even real? Why is an evil machine interrupting our afternoon nap?

Me:        Well, I suppose we could just let all your bedding stay dirty and stinky. Or we could hose it off outside. It wouldn’t smell very good, but…

Stella:    I do like that lavender scent. I do like it when my bedding is all fluffy and soft.

Me:        That would pretty much go away if we stop using the machine for your stuff. Of course, we humans would still enjoy its benefits. It hardly ever goes off balance when it’s washing human clothes. But whatever you want…

Stella:    Why is life so full of difficult choices? Why can’t I have my fluffy clean bedding AND my uninterrupted naps? Fine. Whatever. Go ahead with your washing machine, Lady Human. But I reserve the right to call it what it really is – INFERNAL MACHINE!

Me:        Thank you for not cussing.

Stella:    What is cussing?

Me:         Never mind. Forget that I mentioned it. No one needs a cussing bulldog.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Strike! Strike! Strike! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and something hilariously bulldoggy has just occurred. It should be written down in the annals of bulldogdom.

Me:        Well, I don’t think it’s very funny.

Stella:    You don’t have much of a sense of humor, Lady Human. You should work on that.

Me:        My sense of humor doesn’t match bulldog humor, I guess.

Stella:    It sure doesn’t. Bulldog humor is funny.

Me:        Explain to me how it is funny that Wiggles refuses to move.


Stella:    She’s on strike! I can’t stop laughing.

Me:        I can’t move her! She weighs 80 pounds! Oh, now look! She’s rolled over on her back.

Stella:    Pay no attention. She’ll get tired of the game and get up. Eventually. Until then, just step over her.

Me:        Here. Let me scratch your belly, Wiggles. Is that what you want?

Stella:    No! Lady Human! Don’t give in! Don’t offer a bribe!

Me:        Is that what I’m doing when I give you a treat?

Stella:    No, that’s an act of love. But when Wiggles is on strike in the middle of the floor, on her back, showing her belly, that’s a bribe demand. She’s saying, ‘Scratch my stomach or live with an immovable bulldog in the middle of your floor forever’. She will control you for life. Anytime she wants something, she will flip over and make like a rock. A big, heavy, bulldog-shaped rock.

Me:        Here. Let me toss a treat over there. Maybe she’ll go for it.

Stella:    Treat tossing! Is that the way to break a bulldog strike?

Me:        It’s working. She’s going after it.

Stella:    Not fair! Okay, fine! I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogs, am officially on strike! Boom! Not moving until I get my due.

Wiggles:  Don’t be fooled, Lady Human. She doesn’t know how to strike.

Me:        Why did you strike, Wiggles?

Wiggles:  You’ve been real busy lately and I haven’t had a good long belly scratch in a while so…

Me:        I’m sorry, girl. I wasn’t paying enough attention. You had to make a demand.

Stella:    Hey! Over here! Look at me! A bulldog rock! STRIKE! STRIKE! STRIKE!

Me:        What should I do about this?

Wiggles:  I would not give into her demands if I were you, Lady Human. You’ll never hear the end of it. She’ll go on strike every day. As for me, I’m reasonable.


Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Beware Evil Plants – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Hello! Plants are our friends. I hope.

Me:        You sound doubtful.

Stella:    Not all plants can be trusted. You told me so yourself. There are plants that are evil.

Me:        Not evil. Poisonous. Thorny. Prickly. Full of stickers. Inedible.

Stella:    In other words, evil.

Me:        They have no ability to intend evil.

Stella:    Tell that to my poor little toes when they get stuck with wicked cactus thorns. And didn’t you tell me that, when you were a little human growing up in the Piney Woods of what you keep calling Texas (though I don’t know what that means), you were sometimes afraid of the tall trees?

Me:        Well, yeah, but I was a kid.

Stella:    A kid? Like a baby goat? I thought that you were always human. How did you pull that off?

Me:        I have always been human. ‘Kid’ is an expression for a young human and a baby goat.

Stella:    Is that all humans do? Sit around making up words to confuse us?

Me:        No. We do considerably more than that. Haven’t you noticed?

Stella:    You mean Picture Boxes and Rolling Boxes? Meh. I have noticed that you let evil plants infest your ground.

Me:        What ‘evil’ plants, Stella?

Stella:    The tall spring plants that were not with us last year. They were frightening Snoopey and Tiger. Marching toward the house and every day growing taller and greener. An army of straight leafy soldiers, taking over our territory.

Me:        Actually, they are called lamb’s quarters and some people really enjoy them in a salad.

Stella:    Salad? Yuck! A bowl of green leaves? Yuck!

Me:        We’ve had people ask if they can harvest them. And I say sure. There are plenty for all.

Stella:    Eating leaves. Eeewww! Eating grass? Of course. But eating leaves? No. No. No. No. Humans have terrible taste in food.

Me:        The lamb’s quarters have not been bothering you. I’ve watched you walk around them. All you have to do is stick to the paths.

Stella:    But the crowding plants still bothered Snoopey and Tiger. The evil plants are the reason that they have not wanted to go outside alone, especially at night.

Me:        So when Tall Man cut some of the lamb’s quarters, Snoopey and Tiger didn’t mind going out anymore. Okay. That makes sense.

Stella:    All you had to do was ask me why they were balking and I would have told you that it was because of the evil plants.

Me:        But Wiggles, Doodlebug, and Miss Sweetie had no problem with them.

Stella:    You know how they are. They don’t believe in evil plants. All plants and animals are their friends. They are idiots.

Me:        You didn’t have any problem with them either.

Stella:    I am Flying Stella, Squirrel Fighter. No silly plant will get in my way when I am going outside to potty. Let the plants beware. Besides, the short ones tickle my belly.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




The Red Mop Menace – Conversation with the Pack

Today was Mop Day, a day which should probably come even more often than it does.

Stella:    No, it should never happen again!

Me:        I truly do not understand why you all don’t like the mop. With the mop, there is endless, hysterical barking. How is it different from the broom that Tall Man was pushing just a few minutes ago and you were all silent?

Stella:    There is all the difference in the world, Lady Human! Isn’t it obvious?

Me:        No.

Stella:    The broom, as you inexplicably call it, is a bright, friendly yellow. It is dry and takes the dirt and bulldog hair and stacks it in a neat pile which then disappears into the tall metal fortress forever.

Me:        You mean the trash can.

Stella:    If you say so.

Me:        But the mop does the same thing, only better.

Tiger:     No! The mop is evil!

Snoopey:  I never agree with Tiger. She is always wrong. Until now. The mop is evil!

Me:        The yellow broom is good, but the red mop is evil?

Wiggles:  What is ‘red’?

Stella:    You know what it is. The ugly color that the humans are always spreading around and wearing.

Miss Sweetie:  I like red. I like yellow. I like blue. I like the lovely trees. I like the lovely grass. I like the lovely squirrels…

Stella:    NOOO! Sweetie, you and I need to have a long talk.

Miss Sweetie:    About the lovely squirrels?

Stella:    No. I mean yes. I mean about a lot of things.

Doodlebug:        Can you tell me about the lovely squirrels, too?

Stella:    SQUIRRELS ARE NOT LOVELY! YES, DOODLEBUG! I WILL TALK TO YOU ABOUT BULLDOG LIFE, TOO! Forgive me for shouting. Some subjects annoy me.

Wiggles:  What is ‘annoy’?

Snoopey:  Why aren’t we talking about taking out the red mop?

Tiger:     Exactly. The red mop must be destroyed.

Me:        I still don’t understand why the red mop is so different from the yellow broom.

Stella:    The mop is wet. It is smelly.

Me:        It cleans the floor. Do you want the floor to be smelly?

Stella:    Better a smelly floor than an evil red mop running around free!

Tiger:     Hear! Hear!

Snoopey:  Agreed!

Wiggles:  Okay.

Doodlebug:  The smelly floor smells like me.

Miss Sweetie:    Lovely squirrels.

Stella:    As queen, I can order our army to march against the red mop.

Me:        No, you really can’t.

Stella:    But the humans vote on all sorts of things, as crazy as that is.

Me:        No, it’s really not.

Stella:    I put it to a bulldog vote. All in favor of red mop destruction, bark and keep on barking!

The Pack:  Barking

 Me:        No, please, not again!

Stella:    The barks have it. The red mop will be destroyed at the next opportunity.

Me:        No, it won’t. I am not going to buy another mop just because you all don’t like the color red or think it is wet or smelly.

Stella:    All in favor of Lady Human not overseeing the red mop issue, bark!

Me:        Stop! The red mop is mine and Tall Man’s. I am hereby taking it into protective custody. No chewing or bulldog destruction allowed. Is that clear?

Stella:    No.

Me:        What?

Stella:    Yes. Maybe. Not really.

Me:        The humans are in charge.

Stella:    Until the red mop menace is over, all in favor of the humans no longer being in charge, bark!



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

High Maintenance Humans – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges! Hello! Bulldogs are told all the time how much more of everything we are – more work, more health issues, more wrinkly, more stubborn, and most importantly, more love. But humans are mistaken. Humans are high maintenance.

Me:        How so?

Stella:    Where are you going?

Me:        How do you know I am going anywhere?

Stella:    Simple. What are you wearing on your top part?

Me:        A blouse with a T-shirt.

Stella:    Why do you need 2 shirts? You only wear 2 shirts when you are going out. What do I wear when I am going out? Nothing! Humans are high maintenance. Dogs are easy.

Me:        I don’t see how my shirts make me high maintenance…

Stella:    And what do you have on your feet?

Me:        Shoes. Just casual shoes.

Stella:    Casual shoes today. Fancy shoes tomorrow. Shoes with heels. Shoes without heels. Black shoes, brown shoes, gray shoes. Those are just the ones I have seen. And what do I have on my feet? Nothing! Low maintenance.

Me:        Hey, I’m just living life.

Stella:    High maintenance human life. We are easy by comparison. Like the way you all eat. What are those metal things you hold in your hands and stab your food with?

Me:        Knives and forks?

Stella:    Why? You have paws, don’t you? And long, long toes on the ends of your arms that you pick stuff up with. You have mouths. Why don’t you eat like us? Then you won’t have to spend so much time and water washing those metal stabby things.

We have water bowls. You have all shapes and sizes of bowls you drink from. Little ones. Big ones. Skinny ones. Get one water bowl and drink all your weird drinks out of it. Low maintenance.

And then there are all these things sitting around that you stare at – the Picture Box, the little box you carry in your hand and talk into, the stuff that Moon the Cat knocks off the piano, the piano…

Me:        Okay, I get it. Humans are high maintenance, maybe even higher than bulldogs.

Stella:    Good, now that we agree, go get me my toys – all of them, not just the new ones – oh, and wipe out my water bowl again. A piece of dust blew into it. And my vitamins, I need my vitamins. Oh, and bring me both kinds of treats, not just the one you got at the healthy place. While you’re at it, straighten out my cushion. I bunched it up too much and be sure to refill my food bowl before bedtime. I like my midnight snacks.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Sisters – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and by the authority invested in me by me, I hereby declare myself to be AN ONLY PUPPY!

Me:        Can that be done?

Stella:    Of course. I just did it.

Snoopey:  I’ve had about enough of this whole queen thing. And you can’t just say you are not something that you are. You are my sister.


Stella:    No, I’m not.

Snoopey:  Whether you like it or not.

Stella:    I don’t.

Snoopey:  You are just mean.

Me:        Girls! Girls!

Snoopey:  Mean meanie! Mean queen! Mean! Mean! Mean!

Me:        Snoopey, enough!

Snoopey:  Sorry, Lady Human.

Me:        I am an only child and I don’t understand this conflict between sisters.

Snoopey:  Sisters are rude.

Stella:    Sisters are stupid.

Snoopey:  Sisters stink!

Stella:    I know. I’m smelling you right now!

Me:        Enough!

Stella:    Lady Human, you are an only puppy.

Me:        Child.

Stella:    Same thing.

Me:        No, it’s not.

Stella:    Sisters are complicated things.

Me:        Can’t you work together? At least, not fight?

Stella:    What’s the good of having a sister if we can’t fight?

Me:        I’m sorry. I guess I missed the whole point of sisterhood.

Stella:    You are an only puppy, Lady Human. Stick to what you know.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





What’s Going On? Stella’s Alert to the Pack – Conversations with Stella

Alert! Alert! Something is going on! Oh, by the way, I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Help! Alert! Lady Human! Whatever is going on, MAKE IT STOP!

Me:        Nothing is going on except that the whole pack is barking. Why don’t you tell everyone to calm down and stop it?

Stella:    I can’t until we know the danger is past.

Me:        There is no danger.

Stella:    Yes, there is; otherwise, the pack would not be up in arms!

Me:        There is no danger.

Stella:    Why do you keep saying that? Do you think that we are insane? You are human. Humans are supposed to know everything.

Me:        Stella, the look you are giving me says that you think that I am the insane one. It’s your straight brow, the face that says you are stuck between worry and disbelief.

Stella:    I am! What is going on? Help!

Me:        What is going on? Tall Man just got home from work. That’s all that is going on. Okay. Can you calm down now?

Stella:    Tall Man? Came home?

Me:        Didn’t you see him walk through?

Stella:    Yes. But everyone was barking and jumping around. Like something was wrong. And I just assumed…

Me:        …that something was wrong, but there wasn’t. Someone heard something. It was Tall Man. Someone saw something. It was Tall Man. Someone started barking without asking why. Then everyone else started barking without asking why.

Stella:    Oh. I see. You must think we are foolish.

Me:        No more than my fellow humans who do the same thing every day.

Stella:    Lady Human, we still hope that humans know everything.

Me:        We don’t. Get used to it. Only God knows everything. And do you know what that is?

Stella:    Yep. Good news.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Return of Jerky the Squirrel – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges or, as I am also known, FLYING STELLA, SQUIRREL FIGHTER! Jerky McSquirrelyFace has returned!

Me:        Actually, he never really left.

Stella:    But I haven’t seen him in months.

Me:        He was wintering in. After he ate all our pecans and acorns, he wandered the rest of the neighborhood, looking for something he and his friends hadn’t eaten, and then tucked himself in until spring came.

Stella:    Never fear! The Squirrel Fighter is here! Let me at him! Get ready for pecan pie come autumn, Lady Human! Here I come to save the day! If a little cartoon mouse can fly, I can fly. Where did I put my cape?

Me:        I never got around to making you a cape. I didn’t think you would need it because, well, you know…you can’t…

Stella:    Can’t what?

Me:        You know. Fly.

Stella:    Bite your own tongue, Lady Human! Don’t you remember the exciting events of last year?

Me:        No.

Stella:    Me! Fighting Jerky! Flying across the yard, chasing Jerky out…well, maybe that part was all my imagination, but I did run and I barked and Jerky jumped over the fence…after he threw nuts on my head. I like my first version better. Flying Stella, Squirrel Fighter. Just let me find that little booger hanging around my yard this time. We’ll see who gets what thrown on whose head!



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Toe Stompers – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, wish to make perfectly clear that I had absolutely nothing to do with what happened. I was across the room, minding my own business. It was Snoopey’s doing. Poor Lady Human.

Me:        I think it’s turning blue, right there by my little toes.

Stella:    Which foot?

Me:        Can’t you see it?

Stella:    I don’t see colors all that well. Oh, there! That spot does look different now. I will lick it and make it feel better.

Me:        Thanks, but no thanks. That won’t help a bruise.

Stella:    Bulldog tongues help everything. And Snoopey is rude and careless. I know she has big feet, but she should keep them under control. No toe stomping! It gives bulldogs a bad rep!

Me:        Rep? You know what a rep is?

Stella:    Sure. It’s what people say about you and believe about you. Bulldogs have a great rep for tenacity and tenderness and looking ferocious but being all cool and whatnot. We do not need to be known as toe stompers.

Me:        It wouldn’t have happened if I had been wearing boots.

Stella:    Oh, knowing Snoopey and her big feet, it would have happened. It just wouldn’t have hurt so much. Where are your boots?

Me:        In my closet.

Stella:    I will run and get them.

Me:        Ow! Stella!

Stella:    Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize your feet were in my way. You should be more careful where you put them.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Running in Circles – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human has another in her endless list of questions about dog behavior. I am sure it is not important, but I humor her because…you know… treats.

Me:        Is that all I’m good for?

Stella:    No. No. No. Yes. No.

Me:        I get it.

Stella:    I love you, Lady Human. And I love treats. And I love food. So…what’s your question?

Me:        Snoopey spent the longest time this afternoon circling around before she…

Stella:    Just say it. We all know what it is.

Me:        Before she…

Stella:    POOPED! No big deal. We all do it.

Me:        Okay. She circled and circled and circled and made figure 8’s and squares before she finally settled on a spot to…

Stella:    Say it!

Me:        Poop.

Stella:    Sounds pretty normal to me. What’s the problem?

Me:        All the places she circled looked the same to me. I don’t understand what she was looking for.

Stella:    Not looking for. SMELLING FOR.

Me:        Okay. What was she smelling for?

Stella:    Ask her.

Me:        Don’t all dogs understand other dogs?

Stella:    In general, yes. In specifics, no.

Me:        Help me. I want to understand.

Stella:    She could have been scenting one of the other dogs and she didn’t want a used place. She could have been scenting the grass or the leaves and nothing smelled right. She could have been scenting for one of her own old places and somebody else had come by and used it and messed it up. Maybe she is just confused. Maybe she is too particular. Maybe she…

Me:        Okay. I get it. It could have been anything.

Stella:    Yeah, but it wasn’t. The tall spring plants out in the yard freak her out. They weren’t there last year or the year before and she thinks that they are giants and that they will trap her.

Me:        Really?

Stella:    Yeah. Actually, none of us like them, though I tolerate them because they tickle my belly.

Me:        Really.

Stella:    Yes, they make me giggle. Ask yourself, Lady Human, if tall green plants were growing in your bathroom spot all of a sudden, wouldn’t you circle around until you found a less tickly spot?



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




Bulldog Double Dance – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Don’t ever doubt it. Few humans know, however, that I am a dancer. Lady Human discovered this talent on one of the first days I spent with her. I have a unique style. I did not take classes. I was born with it.

You see, it’s this little scooting motion forward with my right front leg extended to the front, my right paw tapping the ground every few inches. Never the left leg, always the right. It must be a good dance. Lady Human smiles every time she sees it. I don’t pull that dance step out often. I don’t want to wear it out.

Wiggles:  I dance.

Stella:    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Anyway, not every bulldog dances.

Wiggles:  I dance.

Stella:    Uh-huh. Snoopey tap dances. Nothing special, just lots of toe action, pretty doggone fast.

Wiggles:  I dance.

Stella:  Sure, sure. Tiger is more of a leaper than a dancer. There was a time when the vet thought that she would always walk with a limp, but Tiger likes to prove people wrong.

Wiggles:  I dance.

Stella:    Yeah, okay. I haven’t seen much dancing from Sweetie or Doodlebug. They are rampagers. They tear around the house and jump on things, including humans.

Wiggles:  I dance. They copy me sometimes.

Stella:  Okay, okay.

Wiggles:  Watch! I try to touch my nose to my tail, but I can’t. But now I look like a half-circle and I tap my feet, all of them, like this as fast as I can, and I turn and turn. Then I turn the other way.

Me:        The famous comma dance and faster than I’ve ever seen her do it.

Stella:   Hmmph! You call that dancing?

Me:        Stella, are you envious? You shouldn’t be.

Stella:    I could dance like that if I wanted to. I just don’t want to. Hmmph!

Me:        You each have your own style. That’s great. If everyone did everything the same way, how boring would that be.

Wiggles:  I dance.

Me:        You sure do, honey.

Stella:    Hmmph! I could do that if I wanted to.


Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.