The Joy of Cooking with Bulldogs – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and today I am in the kitchen, helping Lady Human prepare whatever the mess is that she is cooking.

Me:        Mess? I beg your pardon?

Stella:    Pardon granted. We may be able to salvage some of it. It is hard to tell at this point.

Me:        Wait! I just dropped that. Let me clean…

Wiggles:   Never mind. All cleaned up.

Me:        Oh, okay. Thanks. But don’t clean up any garlic or onion that I drop. Not good for you.

Miss Sweetie:    What is that on the floor there?

Me:        I don’t know. The cat was interested in that spot a while ago, too. Wait!

Snoopey:   No problem, Lady Human. I got it. Kind of sweet.

Me:        All right. I don’t know what that was. Let me get the rest of my ingredients into the slow cooker.

Tiger:     Slow cooking is not a problem for me. I eat most things raw.

Me:        Well, this is for me and I like to blend the flavors in a slow heat.

Stella:    For you? How selfish!

Doodlebug:   When this recipe doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, I will be happy to gobble up the wreck. That is my purpose in life. To clean up human food messes.

Me:        This will not be a wreck.

Stella:    Promises. Promises.

Wiggles:   Just toss what you don’t want on the floor. We are waiting.

Me:        I am not tossing good food on the floor.

Stella:    Who said anything about good?





Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Human Singing? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Something is happening that has happened too often before. I think I know what it is, but I have to check. I could be wrong. Lady Human, is everything all right with you?

Me:        Sure. Why?

Stella:    That sound coming from you.

Me:        You don’t like that song?

Stella:    Song? I wasn’t sure.  It sounded as though you were in distress. We are ready to assist. How can we help?

Me:        No help is needed. I was just singing.

Stella:    Are you sure that’s what you were doing? It sounded like something unpleasant was going on. Isn’t singing supposed to be pleasing?

Me:        Okay. Okay. You don’t like my singing. I get it.

Stella:    If you know that, why do you still do it? Do you like to make people and bulldogs unhappy?

Me:        No. But when I feel like singing, I let it out. Consider it a form of free speech.

Stella:    Ah, free speech. That thing that humans celebrate but deny to bulldogs.

Me:        What free speech, pray tell, have you all been denied?

Stella:    Stand by. Now hear this. AWWWWGggghh! Rawwwhhhh! Rawwwhhhh! Rawrahhhhh! Wait! Why are you covering your ears?

Me:        A little loud, thank you.

Stella:    You are welcome.

Me:        No, I meant…

Stella:    I know. Bulldog singing is beautiful in any language.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Why Are You Reading in the Kitchen? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I have witnessed humans ‘reading’ their strange books before, but never in the food preparation room that they call the ‘kitchen’. It doesn’t seem right. Food. Books. Reading. All at the same time. All in the same room. Nope.

Me:   The book I was reading was what we call a ‘cookbook’.

Stella:    Even worse. You cooked a book? Disgusting.

Me:        No. I didn’t cook a book.

Stella:    That’s what it smelled like to me.

Me:        I was trying a new recipe for crispy bread.

Stella:    Sounds like a cooked book to me. Why can’t you try cooking something delicious that has meat in it?

Me:        Maybe next time. I used to cook and bake all the time and then…I stopped.

Stella:    Why? Because all your cooking and baking tasted terrible?

Me:        No… well, some of it did. I stopped because I was the only one eating the result and a lot was going to waste.

Stella:    That was before you had bulldogs, wasn’t it?

Me:        As a matter of fact, …

Stella:    Because we would have SO cleaned up your leftovers.

Me:        Okay, I’ll keep that in mind. With the weather getting cooler, I may be doing more baking and soup cooking so…

Stella:    Here’s my list: anything with meat in it as in chicken, beef, pork, and whatever else counts as meat, cheese dishes, and anything else you’ve got. If I don’t like it, I’ll let you know and then you can throw it out. So, keep on reading in the kitchen, Lady Human. Turn it into a library if you want to.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Eye Contact – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Hello. If we ever meet, face to face, do not make eye contact. I am a predator. You humans are predators. Keep your eyeballs to yourselves.

Me:        But you and I make eye contact all the time and you don’t seem to mind.

Stella:    Yes, about that, Lady Human…

Me:        You think of me as another predator.

Stella:    Admit it. With humans, one can never be too sure.

Me:        Stella, it’s me. We’ve sat together and eaten together…

Stella:    Not really. You’ve never eaten out of my bowl and I have never eaten out of yours, not that I would mind doing so.

Me:        You don’t want me to look at you.

Stella:    Of course, you should look at me. Watch all my cuteness and squirrel chasing expertise and special dance steps.

Me:        So…

Stella:    But no eyeballing.

Me:        Many humans consider it a sign of respect and honesty to look another person in the eyes.

Stella:    Many humans are not bulldogs.

Me:        In fact, no humans are bulldogs, but, to continue on the eyeballing subject, I have looked you straight in the eyes lots of times. What’s different about today?

Stella:    Today I am ticked off.

Me:        Okay.

Stella:    And when I’m ticked off, you’d better watch out. Predator alert! Keep your eyeballs to yourself.

Me:        And tomorrow will you be ticked off?

Stella:    I haven’t decided yet.

Me:        Am I allowed to be ticked off now and again?

Stella:    No, absolutely not. You are a human. You are supposed to have better self-control. Being ticked off is for me. I am the Queen.

Me:        How will I know if you are ticked off?

Stella:    Just try eyeballing me and see what happens.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Put It On Silent – Conversations with Stella and Miss Sweetie

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. As I have pointed out many times before, humans talk entirely too much. Sometimes, they even talk in the middle of the night. I was sound asleep, minding my own business as always…

Me:        As always?

Stella:    When out of the darkness came a weird voice, floating down the hall, sneaking into my sleepy ears.

Me:        And you and Sweetie started barking your heads off, even after I told you all was well.

Stella:    All is not well when a goofy, little voice in the night squeals, giggles, and says, “Hee, hee, hee! Let’s play!” Now I know that it was not your tiny human relative who visits. She was not here and she does not speak human languages yet. And I know that it was not a bulldog. A bulldog would never sound that silly. It was totally unbulldoggy. No self-respecting bulldog would make such a noise. Not even Sweetie.

Miss Sweetie:    Hey!

Stella:    No offense, honey, but admit it. You do make strange noises, even for a bulldog.


Miss Sweetie:    I heard the sound first and I was the first to bark the alarm.

Stella:    No, I was the first.

Miss Sweetie:   No, I was the first.

Stella:    No, it was me.

Me:        And I came down the hall and told you both that all was well and you kept on barking at me.

Miss Sweetie:    I stopped barking at you first.

Stella:    No, I stopped barking at her first.

Miss Sweetie:    No, I stopped first. I remember.

Stella:    Are you saying my memory is not as good as yours? Are you saying that I am old?

Miss Sweetie:    Mmmm. Yes. You are old, Aunt Stella.

Stella:    EEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Me:        Excuse me, please. I have an announcement. The late-night noise in question arose from an online game that I started playing on my phone when I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. I apologize to the whole household. I forgot to silence my phone before I went to sleep and, when I opened the app, the music and silly voice started immediately. I couldn’t silence it quickly enough. In fact, I don’t like those noises either. But I do like the game and sometimes it helps me go back to sleep. End of story.

Miss Sweetie:    You couldn’t silence your phone quickly enough? You are old, Lady Human. What century were you born in?

Stella:   You mean this all happened because of that little talking box you pay too much attention to all day long? And now you pay attention to it at night? Give it here, Lady Human. You do not need it that much.

Me:        Nope. It’s mine.

Stella:    Turn the talking box over.

Me:        Nope. I’m the human. I am in charge of it.

Stella:    And as you will come to admit, I am the loud barking box and I am in charge of that.

Miss Sweetie:    No, I am the loud barking box.

Stella:    No, it’s me.

Miss Sweetie:   No…

Me:        Here, let me turn my phone’s sound back on and turn the volume to max. Who’s the loud barking box now?



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




Special Emergency Pack Meeting – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I hereby call this Special Emergency Pack Meeting to order.

Me:        Wait. What emergency? What pack meeting?

Stella:    Sorry, Lady Human. You were not notified because you are not a member of the pack.

Me:        Really? So, all the food and treats and face washing and puppy pool water does not qualify me for pack membership?

Stella:    It’s a bulldog pack, Lady Human, and you, after all, are not a bulldog.

Me:        Not even an honorary one.

Stella:    I’ll take it under advisement.

Me:        Shouldn’t you go ahead and let me know what’s going on?

Snoopey:   I’ll say it. It’s the ear cleanings.

Tiger:     Yeah, ear cleanings are gross.

Wiggles:   Yes, and the cleaning drops smell like…like…stinky water.

Miss Sweetie:   Like sour water.

Doodlebug:   Like you, Sweetie.

Me:        Enough, Doodle. Sweetie smells a lot better since we got the malacetic wipes for her face folds. The other type worked only hit and miss and so, I admit it, sometimes she smelled sour. I still think I should be included in the pack meeting, human or not.

Stella:   Not when you are the evil ear cleaner.

Me:        Now I am evil for cleaning your ears?

Stella:    Do you know what it is like to have your own ears wiped out?

Me:        Yes. Humans clean their ears.

Stella:    Weird. Your ears do not flop over.

Me:        And we can’t close our ears the way you do.

Stella:    It has taken lots of practice to perfect that move. Still, there is no defense against your nasty ear cleaning drops. So, we are taking a vote. Ear cleaning drops – yay or nay?

Snoopey:   Nay.

Tiger:     Nay.

Wiggles:   Nay,

Doodlebug:   Nay.

Miss Sweetie:    Maybe. Maybe not.

Stella:    That’s a yay. And I vote yay. Unanimous. No more ear cleaning drops.

Me:        I vote nay. My one vote trumps all of yours. I win.

Stella:    Not fair!

Me:        Fair? Have you seen what comes out of your ears? That is what’s not fair.

Stella:    Well, you wanted to be a member of the pack. Welcome.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Hiding Space – Conversations with Stella and Moon the Cat

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. SHHHHH!!!! Don’t say anything! Maybe she won’t find me. Hiding is hard when you are shaped like a four-legged, 50-pound tank. I’ll squeeze back here. Nope. That won’t work. My back half is sticking out. If I can avoid her long enough, maybe she’ll forget about me, and then the danger will pass. I can squeeze behind the couch. Hey! Cat! Move it! Bulldog coming through! Make way! What do you mean ‘meow’? Hiss!!! How about that? Does that get your attention?

Me:        Stella! Hey, Stella! Come here, girl. Just for a minute.

Stella:    Just for a minute. Huh. A likely story. I can smell it. She forgets I have a dog’s nose. A poor thing, but my own, and it serves me at times like these. If I can just…scrunch down…a little bit more…I can wait out the threat back here.

Moon the Cat:   Meooww.


Stella:    SHHHHH!!!! Whisper!!! Don’t you understand anything? She’s got that bottle of sour-scented water in her hand.

Me:        Stellaaaa!

Moon the Cat:   Meooowww.

Stella:    SHHHHH!!!!

Moon the Cat:   Why don’t you want her to take care of your ears?

Stella:    What? You speak my language? Why haven’t you done this before?

Moon the Cat:   Bulldoggese is a difficult tongue for a cat. Very rough. It beats up my mouth. Why don’t you learn my language instead?

Stella:    A preposterous notion. The very idea!

Me:        Oh, Stella, there you are. Come here. Just for a minute.

Stella:    No. No! No!!! Now see what you’ve done, Cat!

Moon the Cat:   I helped you find the Lady Human. You are welcome.

Me:        It won’t take a second and you know it makes your ears feel better, Stella. There. That’s one ear. Now for the other.

Stella:    Eeeggghhh. Eeeggghhh! Eeeggghhh!!

Me:        You see. All done. Until next time.

Stella:    Until next time. Destroyer of hope.

Me:        What’s better? To suffer the itch and pain of ear infections or to take arms against them and, by opposing, end them.

Stella:   You made that up. Strange words from someone who does not put drops of sour water into her own ears.

Me:        Thank you, Moon, for alerting me to Stella’s whereabouts.

Moon the Cat:   Glad to have been of help. Not really. Meow.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.







Water Dogs – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I hate water. Except for drinking water. I will take a little of that now and again. But otherwise, I hate water.

Me:        I know.

Stella:    How do you know?

Me:        I watch you. When the hose is running, you run the opposite direction. When the puppy pool is being filled, you run the opposite direction. When I am washing anything off outside, you run…

Stella:    …the opposite direction. You are observant. I admit it. It is true. I hate water.


Me:        Miss Sweetie loves it.

Stella:    Sweetie is a water dog. It happens among bulldogs every once in a while. Most of us are sane and stay away from water. Bulldogs do not float well.

Me:        So, you are a confirmed non-water dog.

Stella:    Amen. I keep my four feet firmly on dry ground. Have you seen how Sweetie plunges her whole face into the puppy pool and swishes it back and forth? Have you seen how she wallows in the water? She acts as though she really likes it. Yuck! Messy and scary! Very unbulldoggy!

Me:        I have seen it. I think it is hilarious!

Stella:    That is because humans have no sense of decency or dignity. You do not know what is truly funny. And you don’t know what is truly bulldoggy.

Me:        I still love water-loving dogs.

Stella:    Awwww. You don’t love me, just because I don’t like water.

Me:        Nonsense. I don’t care if you like water or not.

Stella:    What! You mean I don’t want me as your swimming buddy.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.






Why Do Cats Get An Indoor Toilet? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Bulldogs, dogs of any type really, are forced to go outside to potty, while humans and… ugh…cats get to go to the bathroom indoors. Even our parakeet, Pearl, is allowed to potty inside. This is horribly unfair, especially on bad weather days. Dogs are expected to endure heat, cold, rain, snow (whatever that is), ice (whatever that is), hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms…

Me:        Okay, we get the picture. By the way, we have never had a hurricane here. By the time they get here, they’re some rain and a strong breeze and little else. And, if we do have a tornado or two or sixteen in one day like we had a few years ago, we don’t send anyone outside.

Stella:    If cats are allowed to use the toilet inside on all occasions, why aren’t we?

Me:        Think about that for a minute. Cats have an instinct to use a box or a hole and to cover up what they do. Bulldogs, on the other hand…

Stella:    Hey, I wipe my feet every time I potty.

Me:        I know. If I gave you each a litter box, would you all really use it?

Stella:    Hmmm. I would have to say…Nope, definitely not. Nope. Not bulldoggy enough. Too confining. You will never take our FREEDOM!

Me:        So, you will continue to potty outside? For the freedom?

Stella:    Of course, when you put it that way. Cats don’t know what they are missing. But then again, cats always have a warm potty.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

If It’s Not Food, DON’T EAT IT! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am grossed out. I think that is the right way to say that I am grossed out.

Me:        Are you disgusted?

Stella:    Yes.

Me:        Is your stomach turned?

Stella:    Yes.

Me:        Then ‘grossed out’ is the proper term.

Stella:    Do you know that Doodlebug threw up? A whole bunch?


Me:        Yes, I certainly do.

Stella:    Doodle! Why would you do such a thing in the house?

Doodlebug:   Uuuhhh. Yuck.

Me:        Well, let’s see here. There are one…two…three leaves, completely intact. Were you eating leaves earlier?

Doodlebug:   Uuuhhh.

Me:        Don’t eat leaves.

Snoopey:   I’ve eaten leaves and THAT didn’t happen.

Me:        Probably different leaves. There is an oak leaf and 2 heart-shaped leaves I don’t recognize. I’ll have to do a search of the yard. Doodlebug, don’t eat leaves!

Doodlebug:   It’s all right, Lady Human. I feel better now.

Stella:    Gross! If you are going to make yourself sick, please have the courtesy to the rest of us to do it OUTSIDE!

Doodlebug:   I wasn’t trying to make myself sick. I was minding my own business and it just happened.

Stella:    Since when does it just happen? Stop eating stuff you find in the yard. Leaves, and yes, I will say it out loud. Poop!

Miss Sweetie:    Ummm! Aunt Stella said an ugly word. She said ‘poop’.

Me:        Yes, poop is a big issue since y’all came.

Miss Sweetie:    Funny word. Poop. Poop. Poop. Poop.

Me:        It’s okay to say ‘poop’. It is not okay to eat it. So there! I said that! Doodle, are you listening?

Doodlebug:   The leaves made me sick. They were stuck to the poop.

Stella:    That’s the point. You wouldn’t have eaten the leaves if you hadn’t been eating the…you know…don’t make me say it again.

Miss Sweetie:   Poop. I said it for you, Aunt Stella.

Me:        Okay. The mess is cleaned up. Can we move on to a more pleasant subject?

Stella:    Sure, but first, all this talk about…you know what…has made me want to go outside and…you know what.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




Humans and Their Scary Stories – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Having said that, Lady Human, you look sad.

Me:        Not sad. Contemplative.

Stella:    Contemplative looks the same as sad from where I am sitting. What is contemplative and why are you that way?

Me:        I have been thinking about some events that took place years ago.

Stella:    Things that had to do with me?

Me:        No, long before you came into the earth. Nothing to do with bulldogs.

Stella:    Good, then I can interrupt with a very important announcement.

Me:        This isn’t another Royal Bulldog Decree, is it?

Stella:    No, not that important, but strange. Don’t move!

Me:        Uh-oh.

Stella:    There is a blue stick. And it is flying! No, don’t look!

Me:        I think I already know what it is so I am going to look. Yep. It’s a damselfly.

Stella:    Not a stick?

Me:        Nope. A flying insect.

Stella:    Because it looks like a stick to me.

Me:        It’s a smaller version of a dragonfly.

Stella:    Dragons fly? Here? Where? Keep them away while I call the others! We will get into battle mode. And here all this time I thought the squirrels were our biggest problem.

Me:        No, no. A dragonfly, an insect a little bigger than that damselfly with a long skinny body and transparent wings. Not a dragon. Can you imagine how horrible that would be?

Stella:    Yes. Yes, I can.

Me:        And how do you know about dragons anyway?

Stella:    That silly Picture Box you are always running. There was a dragon on it and it WAS flying and I thought, Oh, no big deal. Looks like that was a long, long time ago. Why give an insect a scary name if it is completely unlike a dragon?

Me:        I don’t know. I think it comes from some old story about a horse turning into a giant insect…

Stella:    NO! NO! I TOLD YOU SO! I have been warning you about this, Lady Human, for some time now, but oh, no! Don’t believe Stella. She’s just a dumb old bulldog. She doesn’t know anything. GIANT INSECTS ARE REAL!!! EEEEEEEEE!

Me:        Stella, please stop that noise.

Stella:    And to think, if I hadn’t seen that flying blue stick, the truth would never have come out.

Me:        Look at the damselfly. Is it giant?

Stella:    It is as long as my nose is wide.

Me:        You see. Not that big.


Me:        Dragonflies are only a little bit bigger than damselflies.

Stella:    Dragonflies! You mean that there are more than one! We are doomed!

Me:        Forget that I said anything about it. In fact, you were right to begin with. That is a blue flying stick. No big deal at all.

Stella:    Phew! What a relief! Now tell me, does it come from a blue flying tree?





Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



What Good Are Neighbors? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human spent too much time outside, visiting with a neighbor today. At least that is what she claims. I think that she sneaked off again to see more short scratching sticks that she calls ‘pens’ at some weird place where humans gather once a year to stare at such things.

Me:        No, the pen show is over until next year. I was visiting with a neighbor who is from Puerto Rico and we talked about how his family is doing after Hurricane Irma. Thank the LORD, they are fine.

Stella:    A likely story. Still it made me ask the question, ‘What good are neighbors?’

Me:        Neighbors can be great. They help out in a pinch and give us an opportunity to help them. It’s nice to have people close by physically who are interested in our homes. They have great recipes to share…

Stella:    Blah, blah, blah. Here is my opinion of neighbors: I have a neighbor. Her name is Snoopey. She has her bed crate right next to mine. Does that do me any good? NO! She does not help me at all. Mainly, she mouths off and complains and, since she is so close, I have to listen to her nonsense. Good neighbor? NOT!

Me:        But it’s still nice to have someone nearby…

Stella:    No, it isn’t. Who came up with that idea? Speaking of neighbors, how nice is it when the humans go and talk to their neighbors about that ugliest of all human hobbies called ‘Politics’ and then come back into the house all hot and bothered because somebody said something and somebody else said something else and blah, blah, blah? Nonsense. Stay inside the house. Don’t talk to anyone. Why do you need to talk to anyone but bulldogs? Bulldogs do not have politics.

Me:        Uh, excuse me, but bulldogs are the most opinionated animals that I know.

Stella:    Opinionated yes, but we don’t have stupid elections to prove our points. If we don’t like something, we just collapse on the ground until we get our way or until we forget what it was we wanted. Easy. Humans make things so complicated.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Short Scratching Sticks – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and I caught Lady Human in the act of sneaking out again today to go to her short scratching stick show.

Me:        Not sneaking out. Not short scratching sticks. Pens. And it’s not a problem for you all. It’s all over for another year.

Stella:     I understand liking sticks. I enjoy a good stick now and again myself. But I never scratch them on paper. And I would never go someplace just to stare at them. What’s the point?

Me:        Exactly. The point is a big deal with pens.

Stella:    I beg your pardon?

Me:        Granted.

Stella:    You are starting to sound like me, Lady Human.

Me:        Uh-oh.

Stella:    So why all the interest in the short scratching sticks?

Me:        Pens. Pencils. Humans use these tools to make marks that communicate.

Stella:    You mean marks that talk?

Me:        Marks that talk without sound.

Stella:    No noise?

Me:        None.

Stella:    Cool!

Me:        And anyone who knows how can read them.

Stella:    Oh! Reading! That thing that you do when you frown at paper.

Me:        Do I frown when I read?

Stella:    Sure. That’s how I know what you are doing. All right then. Scratching sticks have their uses. Tell me. How do they taste?



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Sneaking Out – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Everything was normal. We had breakfast as usual. We went outside to potty as usual. And then, suddenly, Lady Human disappeared!

Me:        I did not disappear.

Stella:    Well, I couldn’t see you. I called. You did not answer.

Me:        I went on a little excursion.

Stella:    Is that the human word for abandoning bulldogs?

Me:        I left for three – count them – three hours.

Stella:    Sneaking out like a guilty teenager.

Me:        May I remind you that I am a human adult? I don’t sneak out.

Stella:    You came back late.

Me:        I came back early.

Stella:    It seemed late to us. Why would you sneak out like that and leave us all alone?

Me:        Tall Man was here when I left.


Stella:    And then he went to that mysterious place he calls ‘work’. And we had to sit here a whole other hour and a half until you came traipsing back in like nothing had happened.

Me:        Nothing did happen. You were all fine. In fact, you were napping when I arrived. It was ten minutes before any of you noticed that I was here.

Stella:    What was so important that you had to sneak out of the house?

Me:        Once again, I did no sneaking. I went to a pen show in town.

Stella:    Pen show? You mean pens like those short sticks that you use to scratch on paper.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    They have shows for that sort of thing? Dog shows, I understand. Dogs are wonderful to see. But scratchy sticks that make marks on paper? Nonsense. You’re making that up.

Me:        Nevertheless, that’s where I went. And, just to let you know, I may go back tomorrow. Tomorrow is the last day of the show and there are lots of tables I didn’t see adequately because I was trying not to stay away too long from y’all.

Stella:    Likely story. I have my eye on you, Lady Human. I’ll be watching.

Me:        Then I’ll be sneaking.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Seasons Change – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The cicadas are dying. Here. And here.

Me:        I know. You need not pile them at my feet.

Stella:    But they are dying, Lady Human! Why?

Me:        It is the end of their season. They have done their job.

Stella:    But they only hatched out a few weeks ago. They waited in the ground for 17 years and only stayed a few weeks? I don’t understand.

Me:        They hatched. They sang in the trees. They mated. They laid their eggs.  And 17 summers from now…

Stella:    …the eggs they just laid will hatch and the babies will do it all over again. How sad.

Me:        Or how comforting. It’s a great cycle. The locusts…sorry, cicadas that hatch next year will be the ones that were laid as eggs 16 years ago this summer and so on and so on. A continuous chain that keeps looping back.

Stella:    Why now?

Me:        Summer is ending.

Stella:    The trees are silent.

Me:        Seasons change.

Stella:    I don’t like change.

Me:        Neither do I.

Stella:    I’ll miss them.

Me:        They’ll be back.

Stella:    Sure as summer.





Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Language of Human Puppies – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Human puppies are smart. The one that visited today can speak bulldoggese. That is more than human adults can do.

Me:        Actually, the baby was speaking gibberish.

Stella:    Are you calling my bulldog language gibberish? How dare you? And what is gibberish? Is it what I think it is because it sounds delicious.

Me:        Gibberish is baby talk. Babies practice talking while they are learning words. Few of the words sound like regular language. That’s how they learn. But it is not bulldoggese.

Stella:    That little human said, ‘Pfffftt.’ Pfffftt. One of the central words of the bulldog dictionary.

Me:        All right. I admit that she made a sound that fell close to ‘pfffftt’. I don’t think that she meant anything by it.

Stella:    How could she not? She is obviously a tough, intelligent little human. She will make a beautiful bulldog someday.

Me:        Stella…

Stella:    Just like me.

Me:        Stella?

Stella:    And we will speak in bulldoggese every day.

Me:        Stella!

Stella:    Huh?

Me:        She will always be a human. She will never be a bulldog. Remember? We’ve talked about this sort of thing before.

Stella:    I will dedicate my Bulldog Dictionary to her. To the young human who cared enough to learn bulldog before her own language. From your Aunt Stella. Pfffftt!



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Am I a ‘People’? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. My question today is ‘Am I a people?’ Lady Human, you are the expert on human words. Am I a people or not?

Me:        Well, technically not…

Stella:    What!

Me:        …because the word ‘people’ is plural…

Stella:    More nonsense.

Me:        Which means two or more and you are only one.

Stella:    Yes, I am the one and only Stella.

Me:        True, you are the one and only of yourself, but there are other Stellas.

Stella:    So, me and all the other Stellas are people.

Me:        Again, not technically…

Stella:    What!

Me:        …because the word ‘people’ means ‘human beings’.

Stella:    Woah! Hold on there! You are saying that we Stellas can’t be people because we are not human?

Me:        I am sure that there are some human Stellas out there so the word ‘people’ refers only to them.

Stella:    Well, I never! How selfish can humans get?

Me:        Pretty doggone selfish sometimes. And then, other times, we do better.

Stella:    Stealing words and saying that non-humans can’t use them!

Me:        You realize, don’t you, that we are talking about human language? Words that humans speak? To other humans?

Stella:    Pfffftt! I hear you speaking human words to me all the time, words that you expect me to understand. And then you change the meaning of the words. ‘This means this and that means that, but now, all of a sudden, without warning, that means this and this means that other thing.’ Pfffftt!

Me:        Okay, but you have dog words that we humans can’t even pronounce. Like that ‘pfffftt’ thing that you do with your mouth.

Stella:    Pfffftt! There! That’s how you say it. Easy.

Me:        Pift.

Stella:    No, like this. Put your lips like this.

Me:        Puft.

Stella:    No, keep your lips tight over your teeth.

Me:        Pheesh.

Stella:    No. Please stop. Don’t even try anymore. Dog words sound terrible coming out of your mouth.





Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

What is Gasoline and Why Should I Care? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The humans are speaking gibberish again, but I am attempting to understand them. Once more, they are stressed about some nonsense called ‘gasoline’. Of course. They are always stressed about something or other. This is just the latest in a long list. Lady Human, what is ‘gasoline’ and why should I care? P.S. I don’t really care, but you all are talking about it and not about me so…

Me:        Do you remember going on those campouts with me?

Stella:    How can I forget? We went from living in a comfortable house that is real to living in a cramped fake little house made of cloth and you thought it was fun. By the way, what does the word ‘fun’ mean to humans, because I don’t think it means the same thing to dogs.

Me:        Getting back to the gasoline issue, do you remember on those trips when I would stop, get out, and put a nozzle into the side of the car?

Stella:    Yeah, that was just plain weird.

Me:        Okay, as weird as it looked, that nozzle was pumping gasoline into the car. Cars and trucks use gasoline as fuel and, if the car runs out of gasoline, it stops working until it gets more. Does that make sense?

Stella:    All right, so gasoline is to a car as food and treats are to us.

Me:        YES! Very good, Stella!

Stella:    So, gasoline is car food. Why are you and Tall Man talking so much about car food?

Me:        Well, the hurricane impacted some of the places on the coast that make gasoline and there are these things called pipelines…

Stella:    Yet another nonsense word.

Me:        …that carry gasoline so it can be put on big tanker trucks and brought to stations where we pump it into cars and smaller trucks. And the flooding impacted a pipeline and so not as much gasoline is flowing temporarily. They are working on it and fuel is coming in from other places.

Stella:    Do these pipelines carry our food and treats, too?

Me:        No, and you wouldn’t want them to because the food and treats would taste and smell like gasoline and might catch on fire if you lit a match around them.

Stella:    I can’t light matches, Lady Human. I am a bulldog.

Me:        I am grateful for that, Stella.

Stella:    Bottom line: Our food and treats are all right then.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    So, the problem is…what?

Me:        People around here are buying up as much gasoline as their vehicles will hold all at the same time so they won’t go empty over the weekend and some gas stations are running out of gas. It should all be fixed as soon as the tankers roll in. Local problem. Minor inconvenience. It just requires a little planning if we are going far.

Stella:    Gas stations? Running out of gas? Why didn’t you say so? We are bulldogs. We have plenty of gas. You will never run out. Just take us to them. We can fill them back up. Happy to help.

Me:        Hmmm. It doesn’t really work that way. It’s not the same thing. You see, ‘gas’ can mean different things and they are all different from ‘gasoline’.

Stella:    Never mind, complicated human. I give up. We offer you our store of gas and you turn us down. Fine. Just plan to stay home this weekend while a whole wealth of fuel is sitting right at your feet.





Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.