Special Spaces – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am jealous.

Me:        Why? Or should I even ask?

Stella:    You should know. Why does Wiggles get to nap in that rag box?

Me:        Because she crawls in it. Nobody else does.

Stella:    I would, but she is always in it!

Wiggles:   You have your special rain potty spot and I have my special indoor rag box spot.

Stella:    Not fair! I only want to use my rain potty spot on rainy days. You use your indoor rag box spot all the time!

Me:        Stella, I have never seen you pay the least heed to the rag box. You pass by it every day, all day long, and don’t even look at it.

Stella:    That’s because Wiggles usually has her fat body in it.

Me:        Ummm!

Wiggles:   Ummm!

Stella:    You know what the vet lady said!

Me:        I know the vet lady said that you had both gained weight and we need to watch that.

Wiggles:   Yeah, so there!

Me:        We each have our special spaces. Let’s enjoy them without envying others for theirs.

Wiggles:   Oh, all right.

Stella:    Oh, all right. But don’t think that I haven’t noticed when you sneak off to your special space, Lady Human.

Me:        Yes, I do have a work space that is in a different room from the rest of you. Sometimes I have to be quiet to get my work done. You have been in there, Stella.

Stella:    I know. To be honest, it is the most boring place in the whole house, so keep it and welcome to it.




Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Don’t Call Me ‘Honey’! – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human calls me lots of things. Girl. Good girl. Stella Bella. Hey! Stop! Don’t!

Me:        Those last three aren’t names.

Stella:    One thing I don’t ever want to be called by her is ‘Honey’.

Me:        Honey is not a bad word.

Stella:    It is when you say it.

Me:        Awww…

Stella:    I heard you talking to some human on your little box and you kept saying ‘Honey’ and ‘No, Honey’ and your tone was not all that happy.

Me:        Oh, yeah. Well, sometimes I fall into that habit when there’s a problem and I am trying not to be rude.

Stella:    So, you call people you are upset with ‘Honey’.

Me:        Yeah. It seems nicer than calling them something more blunt.

Stella:    Do they know that you are upset with them when you call them ‘Honey’?

Me:        They may be able to tell by my tone and by how many times I say the word. Don’t bulldogs get into arguments and call each other names?

Stella:    Of course. Stop asking me silly questions, Honey.

Me:        What?

Stella:    Nothing.






Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Are Humans Born? – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Something has been bothering me for quite some time.

Me:        Pray tell, what?

Stella:    Are humans born?

Me:        Sure.

Tiger:   I would like to see that.

Stella:    Nope. Gross.

Miss Sweetie:    But if you were born, was it on a certain day?

Me:        Yeah.

Tiger:     So, you had what they call a ‘birthday’!

Me:        Yes.

Wiggles:   Why have we never had a birthday thing for you?

Me:        A birthday party?

Doodlebug:   That’s what we have been calling it for us.

Me:        Well, we just don’t do a lot in the party department. But…I can let you in on a secret…sshhhhh!

Stella:    SHHHH!

Wiggles:   Shhh…shhh!

Tiger:    Okay, okay, shhhh!

Doodlebug:   All right already…shhhh!

Miss Sweetie:    Today is your birthday!

Me:   No. But today is Tall Man’s birthday. But don’t let on that you know. When he comes in from work, just start celebrating. Wiggles, do your famous comma dance. And everybody bark and jump.

Stella:    Too late. We did that this morning when he left for work.

Tiger:   Maybe he didn’t notice.

Wiggles:   Oh, he noticed. We do it every morning and he notices every morning.

Doodlebug:   Then…BORING!

Me:        How about some party hats?

Stella:    No, Lady Human, absolutely not.

Me:   But it would be…

Stella:    No.

Me:   He would find it…

Stella:   No.

Me:   …funny.

Stella:   No.

Miss Sweetie:   Cake.

Tiger:   Yes, cake.

Wiggles:   Cake, cake, cake…

Me:   He’s not too much into cake.

Stella:    But we are! It’s not for him! It’s for us! All this time, we haven’t had any birthday parties for the humans. I feel cheated. Where is our fun? Party! Party! Party!

Me:        Okay, I’ll try to think up something.

Stella:    Whatever that something is, the Number One Rule is: NO PARTY HATS!





Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


The Sun is Now Our Friend – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. A long, long time ago, the sun was our enemy. When exactly was that, Lady Human?

Me:        Week before last.

Stella:    Yes, I remember. So long ago. But now I hereby declare that the sun is our friend. It rained again yesterday. I thought you were supposed to do something about that.

Me:        Who? Me?

Stella:    Yes. Humans control everything. So… get to controlling stuff.

Me:        We’ve been over this, Stella. Humans do not control everything.

Stella:    All we want is for the sun to show up more often.

Me:        Except when it is too hot and shines too much.

Stella:    Yes. Now you understand. Just make sure it doesn’t go away like it has been. It should stay put.

Me:        The sun is always there, even when the clouds cover it up for days at a time.

Stella:    Now you’re just making things up.

Me:        No, the sun is still in place. It’s just not visible to us.

Stella:    And what about when it goes to bed at night?

Me:        It’s still where it always is. The earth has just turned so that our side is away from it.

Stella:    You don’t have to make up stories to make me feel better about the sun going on a vacation, Lady Human. Just let us know when it’s going to happen. So how many more vacations will the sun take?







Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved



Egg Begging – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges and…

Wiggles:   Please, Lady Human! PLEASE!


Me:        If they have any for us, Wiggles. It’s not something I can force.

Wiggles:   Why not?

Me:        The chickens lay when they lay.  I can’t just say, Hey, lay an egg, and they do it.

Stella:    The chickens are disobedient.

Me:        The chickens have their own schedule.

Wiggles:   I have a schedule. I like to have an egg every day.

Me:        That may not happen. Weather seems to affect them sometimes. Then other times, it doesn’t.

Wiggles:   Egg! Egg! Egg! Egg!

Me:        Okay, the good news today is there are 3 eggs.

Wiggles:   Mine!

Stella:    No fair! Mine!

Me:        How about this? I gather eggs tomorrow and hard boil them and maybe there are enough for each of you to have one.

Stella:    Nope.

Wiggles:   Nope.

Me:        Yep. That’s fair.

Wiggles:   Not to me. I’ve been out here, watching for eggs all morning. I deserve an egg raise.

Me:        An egg raise? But waiting for eggs is not your job.

Wiggles:   No, but I do it anyway, and I will settle for an extra egg every morning.





Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Better Catcher – Conversations with Stella and Tiger


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human is okay about giving us treats and what she calls ‘supplements’ which are delicious healthy treats.

Me:   Just okay?

Stella:   One of them she says is for our joints, whatever those are, and one is for our urinary health, whatever that is. The important thing is that they taste really good.

Me:        All right! Here we go! Catch! And catch!

Stella:    Awww. They both fell in my bowl. So what? Mine!

Me:        Here we go, Tiger!


Tiger:     I’m ready! See my head! See my face! READY!

Me:        There! Good catch! Right in your mouth! You are so fast!

Stella:    Big whoop. She has a bigger mouth than I do.

Me:        I don’t think so. Not really.

Tiger:     Is there another one? Huh, huh, huh! I’m ready for another one! Let’s go!

Me:        Yeah. Here! Catch!

Tiger:   What? Where did it go? It’s not in my mouth. It’s not on the floor. Oh, noooo! It’s lost! Find it quick before somebody else’s big mouth gets it!

Me:        I don’t know where it went. Just look around.

Stella:    I know where it is.

Me:        Where?

Stella:    What do I get for telling you?

Me:        No. No bribery allowed.

Stella:    Hmmmpph.

Me:        Wait a second, Tiger. I see it. Hold still.

Tiger:     Where? Where?

Me:        Hold still.

Tiger:     I can’t hold still when my precious treat is missing.

Me:        It’s on your back.

Tiger:     No, it’s not. I would know that.

Me:        Can you see your back? No? I can. It’s on your back. Hold still. Here. Catch.

Stella:    Best catcher in the pack, my foot!

Tiger:     I can catch with my mouth and my back. What did you ever catch with your foot?






Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





A Nasty Surprise – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Wiggles, confess it. You tore up the tarp that was covering part of the Chicken House.


Wiggles:   I don’t remember doing any such thing. And what is a tarp?

Stella:    It’s that big crackly plastic blanket by the Chicken House. Lady Human uses it to help keep the chickens dry, and they sure needed it during all the rain.

Me:        And then I come out here and there is a big hole torn in it and pieces of blue plastic are all over the ground and it’s taking a long time to pick it all up and I just don’t understand why you did this.

Wiggles:   Neither do I. Why did I do this?

Me:        Beats me, but now I’m going to have to throw this away and… whoa there, what’s this? Yuck. Now I understand Wiggles’ interest.

Stella:    Explain it to us. We don’t understand.

Me:        Stay back.

Wiggles:   I remember now. There was a fascinating odor coming from under that crackly blanket.

Me:        Yeah, I’ll bet there was.

Stella:    I can’t see. I can’t see. What?

Me:        A dead rat.

Stella:    Ohhhh. Yeah. That’s definitely a dead rat odor.

Me:        Stay back. I’ll clean it up.

Wiggles:   Why?

Me:   Because nasty, that’s why. He must have crawled up under the tarp to hide and there he met his end.

Wiggles:   I’ve seen one of those before!

Me:   Yes, you and Sweetie brought a dead one to us a couple of years ago and laid it at our feet.

Wiggles:   I remember. It smelled so good that I knew it would make a wonderful present for you and Tall Man.

Me:   Humans don’t really value stinky things.

Stella:   Of course, you do! What about that stinky stuff in your room?

Me:   The essential oils?

Stella:   Exactly. Do any of those come in dead rat scent?

Me:   Nope.

Stella and Wiggles:   Too bad.






Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Sky Is Making Me Sad – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The sky is gray. Again. And again. And again. I will never again complain about the bright, shiny blue Texas sky. Come back, Texas sky. You were not so bad after all.

Me:   Aw, that’s sweet, Stella.

Stella:   So, will our sky come back?

Me:        Someday.

Stella:    Not good enough. I heard this song. “The stars at night are big and bright, clap, clap, clap, clap, deep in the heart of Texas”.

Me:        I’ve heard that song, too.

Stella:    But it’s not true. I see no stars. I haven’t for days and days. Or nights and nights.

Me:        They are still there. Don’t give up hope. Did you notice that there was less rain today and that the ground was dry in spots?

Stella:    Did you notice how gray the sky was?

Me:        The sun broke through for about 15 minutes. Long enough for Sweetie to squeeze in a quick sunbath.

Stella:    Sweetie got a sunbath? Why didn’t anybody tell me?

Me:        You were napping.

Stella:    Next time, wake me up! The shining sun is a once in a lifetime event around here!

Me:        I’ll make a note that you said that.







Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


What Do You Mean There’s No Picture Box? – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. My whole life for the next few days will be soaking wet. I am thankful to the Great Creator for a roof. And for walls. And for a floor that is not mud. And for stuff to do while it pours rain outside. And for the Picture Box to stare at. Wait. Lady Human! There’s no picture on the Picture Box.

Me:        Nope. And there may not be for a while. Lightning struck our TV server’s facility not far from here this morning. A good chunk of north Texas has lost television and some internet.

Miss Sweetie:   But why? Why is there no picture on the Picture Box?

Me:   I guess the lightning fried some of the equipment and it is taking a while to fix it.

Doodlebug:   But what is lightning?

Me:   It’s that electrical fire that shoots from the sky.

Wiggles:   But why? Why is there fire shooting from the sky?

Me:        Thunderstorms generate…

Tiger:     But why are there thunderstorms?

Me:        I don’t think I’m ready to explain all this to a pack of bulldogs.

Stella:    You only need to explain one thing.

Me:        What, pray tell?

Stella:    Why is there no picture on the Picture Box?

Me:        Hey, we still have the shows on my phone.

Stella:    You mean that loud little box you waste your time with every night?

Me:        Well, I don’t consider it a total waste…Wait a minute! I get to watch stuff at night if I want to. I am a human adult.

Stella:    That’s your excuse for everything you do. Our faces are too large to see that tiny screen all at the same time. And on top of that, IT’S STILL RAINING! What do humans do when there is no Picture Box and it’s raining? Aaagghhh!

Me:        Read a book.

Stella:    Can’t read.

Me:        Have a conversation.

Stella:    With them? Nope.

Tiger:     Nope.

Doodlebug:   Nope.

Wiggles:   Nope.

Miss Sweetie:    All right. I’ll do it. What should I say?

Me:        Or we take a nap.

Stella:    Bingo. Now the world looks brighter.








Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.








Sweater Weather – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I haven’t seen the sun for days. The crying sky has been sad because the sun has been hiding.

Me:        That’s not exactly how it works, but okay.

Stella:    The sun must be feeling better today. It has peeked at us and the sky is not crying anymore.

Me:        The sky will cry later tonight. Oh, now you’ve got me saying it.

Stella:    How come? Because the sun is going to bed?

Me:        No. It is supposed to rain again because a cold front is moving through.

Stella:    Cold? No, Lady Human. It is warm today.

Me:        Yeah, about 78 degrees. But before the sun comes up in the morning, the air temperature will have fallen about 30 degrees. It is supposed to be about 47 degrees by sunrise. Sweater weather is finally coming.

Stella:    Sweater? You mean like that big, bulky thing you draped all over me a long time ago? I took that off right away. You kept it?


Me:        Well…I crocheted it for you. It is a little large.

Stella:    Nooo! Nope! Not wearing that thing again! You can just un-crochet it, whatever crochet means!

Me:        I realize it’s kind of big, but I can adjust that.

Stella:    Nooo! You just tell that cold front or cold back or whatever it is to go someplace else. We will stay nice and warm here, thank you. No sweaters need apply.








Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

It’s a Frog Strangler – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Old English Bulldogges. Raindrops keep falling on my head…and on my back…and on my legs…and on my feet.

Me:   Yeah, and on my head…and my back…and my legs…and my feet, too.

Stella:   Well, what do you plan to do about it?

Me:        The rain? Nothing. Just wait it out.

Stella:    No! What do you plan to do about my wet head… and wet back…and wet legs…and wet feet? I need a rain hat. Those sorts of things exist, don’t they?

Me:        Sure.

Stella:    I know you have rain boots. I see them right there. But do you have a rain hat I can borrow?

Me:        I have some hats somewhere. I have my broad-brim black felt hat, but that’s not perfect in a heavy rain. I have a cowboy hat. That’s better. The felt is tighter and it’s shaped so as to make the rain roll off the brim and down away from my neck and back.

Stella:    That’s great for you, Lady Human. You stand upright on your two hind legs.

Me:        I don’t have hind legs. I only have two legs. They are…front legs.

Stella:    Yeah, okay. But I am a bulldog. Your cowboy hat would drain wet all down my back. Next!

Me:        I bought some dog galoshes for winter use, but…they turned out to be too small for bulldogs and they were the largest size the company had.

Stella:    So, I get stuck with wet feet? We have a big rain event going on here.

Me:        Yeah, this is what people in the old days called a frog strangler.

Stella:    Frogs are strangling on the rain? That’s horrible!

Me:        No, it’s an exaggeration. Like a lot of our old sayings.

Stella:    Do frogs like the rain?

Me:        Yeah, I think they probably do.

Stella:    Can we ask them where they get their rain hats and boots?




Copyright 2018 H. J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Wash the Rolling Box? Cute! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges and I just saw the most wonderful thing on the Picture Box. Dogs were driving a human rolling box and bulldogs were giving it a bath. I knew the day would come.

Miss Sweetie:    Can we do that?

Me:   That was a commercial. Dogs washing cars and driving cars are not real things.

Tiger:     BUT I SAW IT!


Wiggles:   I can wash the rolling box with my tongue. I am sure my tongue is big enough for the job. Does the rolling box taste like chicken feed? I like chicken feed. And eggs. I really like eggs.

Me:   No, and none of you are going to wash the car, though I’ll admit that it needs it. And I admit that the mental image of bulldogs washing a car is cute.

Stella:    Cute?

Tiger:    Cute?

Doodlebug:   Cute?

Wiggles:   Cute?

Miss Sweetie:   I’m cute.

Stella:    Bulldogs are dignified. And stalwart. And persistent. We are not cute. That’s just plain insulting, Lady Human. Forget the whole thing. If helping you by driving and washing the so-called car is going to get us called ‘cute’, you can just do those things by yourself.






Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





What to Do When Humans Are Late – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What are bulldogs to do when their humans are late? Let’s be honest. Bulldogs are a powerful, though very loving, breed. Still, there are many things that we find difficult to do for ourselves. We depend on our humans, more than we would like to admit.

Me:        Is this about me getting home late from church?

Stella:    Excuse me, Lady Human. I am speaking to bulldogs and other dogs who may face a similar problem. Number 1: Start barking and whining and don’t stop, unless you get tired and then you should take a nap. Upon awakening, start barking and whining, only louder.

Me:        I was only an hour or so late.

Stella:    Number 2: See if any bags of food have been left lying around. If so, attack said bag or (hopefully) bags and tear them open. Believe it or not, a helpful cat may assist in this. The problem will be in finding a helpful cat.

Me:        I went for coffee after Sunday School with a friend and we got to talking…

Stella:    Number…what number comes after 2?

Me:        Three.

Stella:    Number 3: If you need to go potty, go ahead and go potty in the house. This will increase the guilt of any humans when they do show back up. They will have to clean it up which will remind them not to be late next time.

Me:        I wasn’t gone that long. I noticed that no one went to the potty.

Stella:    That doesn’t mean we didn’t think about it. Number 4: When the humans come back, after barking, whining, and going potty, put on your most pitiful face. Humans melt in the face of a sad-looking bulldog. Or any dog, really.

Me:        Okay. Okay. I get the point.

Stella:    Number 5: Humans run everything, and I mean everything, by the silly things they call clocks. Remind them that bulldogs are better at that game than they are. Make sure your inside clocks are always wound up. They may have started this whole on time thing, but we can overdo them at anything.





Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Humans Name Everything – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:        Where is the remote?

Stella:    The what?

Me:        The remote? You know. The thing that changes channels on the T.V.

Stella:    Changes the whats on the what?

Me:        The stations on the…okay…Picture Box.

Stella:    What are ‘stations’?

Me:        Never mind.

Stella:    Why do humans have to give a name to everything?

Me:        It’s built into us. It started a long, long time ago, in the Garden of Eden. Adam named every creature as the LORD God brought them to him.

Stella:    And you have never been able to stop.

Me:        There always seems to be new stuff to give a name to. Don’t you have names of your own for stuff you come across?

Stella:    Sure. We call it ‘stuff’. As in ‘do you see that stuff? Where did that stuff come from? Did you smell that stuff?”

Me:        So, to you, everything is just ‘stuff’.

Stella:    Sure. Except for stuff that’s not.

Me:        Seems a little non-specific.

Stella;    What is ‘non-specific’?

Me:        Never mind.





Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Work Up An Appetite – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:   And I’ve noticed something about Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Stella:    Whatever it is, I am sure it is interesting.

Me:   How come you don’t eat when the others do?

Stella:    Sure, I do. You pass out the food. We eat.

Me:        But the others gobble theirs down right away. You always wait until you’ve been outside first. Then you come back in and that’s when you pay attention to your food.

Stella:   That’s because I have finer manners than the others. Uh, don’t tell them that I said that.

Me:        Okay, I won’t.

Stella:    But I do have finer manners. I eat slowly, and I don’t knock my food on the floor and, besides, I have to work up an appetite before I chow down like a chow hound. Woo-hoo!

Me:        That’s fine. I skip morning breakfast now myself. I don’t eat until noon.

Stella:   What? Wait! You aren’t saying that I should until you eat…

Me:        No, not at all. You will get fed at the same time as everybody else. You can eat it whenever you want. I’ll eat when I want.

Stella:    We eat two times a day. Once you start eating, you eat all the time ‘til you fall asleep. Don’t deny it. I’ve seen you at night. Watching that little box in your hand and popping cheese and fat corn into your mouth.

Me:        You mean popcorn?

Stella:    Yeah, fat, luscious popcorn… and wonderful, savory cheese.

Me:        That’s how I wind down at night.

Stella:    Maybe you should wind down earlier, and without popcorn and cheese.






Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

If Food is on the Floor, EAT IT! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. And… wait! What is that smell? Fish? It smells horribly wonderful.

Me:        Oh, I just spilled some tuna on the floor. I’m giving some to Moon Cat for breakfast.

Tiger:     Tuna? For a cat? Why is something that good being given to the cat?

Stella:    For once, and only once, I must agree with Tiger, Lady Human. That is dog quality food you are wasting there.

Me:        Stay back while I clean it up. Oh, Wiggles! Stop dancing in it!

Wiggles:   Yes, this is my happy comma dance. It smells great right here and that makes me happy. Ah, what’s this wet stuff?

Doodlebug:   You’re dancing in the spilled food! Stop!

Miss Sweetie:    You don’t have to clean it up, Lady Human. I know how to do that! My tongue is big enough for that chore.

Stella:    Wiggles! You put your feet all in it! When food is on the floor, there is only one thing to do with it. EAT IT!

Tiger:   To my shock and horror, I find myself agreeing with Stella.

Stella:    That’s QUEEN Stella to you.

Tiger:   There the agreement ends. Now that Wiggles has stepped all in it, well…that doesn’t really make a difference, does it?

Wiggles:   Forgive me, Lady Human. I must stop dancing while I… mmm, mmm…clean up this…mmm, mmm, mmm…lovely…mmm, mmm…mess. There! Done! Oh, and my…mmm, mmm…feet. Now back to happy comma dancing. What a wonderful day!

Moon Cat:   Meow.

Stella:    Typical.






Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Hang Up That Phone! – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The humans carry a little box in their hands that they never seem to be without. It is not a fun toy to chew. It is not food. I see no reason for it at all. And now, on top of everything else, they talk into it at odd times to the exclusion of us bulldogs.

Me:        It is a phone. We talk to other people on it. It’s important to stay in touch.

Stella:    What is more important? Your little phone box as you call it or good old-fashioned sleep?

Me:        They both have a place.

Stella:    Like last night?

Me:        Well, I admit I had a long conversation with a friend. She needed to talk…

Stella:    And talk and talk. And you talked and talked and talked. How was anybody supposed to get any sleep?

Me:        You were welcome to go to sleep at any time. I noticed that nobody else was staying up.

Stella:    Nobody else has my sensitive nature and sensitive ears. From now on, there is a… what is the word humans use? Oh, yeah, a curfew on little phone boxes. No phone calls after…well…whenever it is that I say is bedtime.

Me:        All curfews are set by the humans.

Stella:    That was fine back when, but this is now. Now bulldog common sense rules.









Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.