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.