Get Your Own Bed! – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Hey, girl, give me a little more room, okay?

Stella:  No, not okay. I am comfortable.

Me:  I’m not. I am way bigger than you are.

Stella:  How is that my fault?

Me:  Not a matter of fault. A matter of fact. Scooch over.

Stella: Get your own bed.

Me:  I did. This is it.

Stella:  Why don’t I have a bed?

Me:  Uh, counting this one, you have three beds.

Stella:  Yeah, but this one is my favorite.

Me:  Mine, too. Scooch over.

Stella:  How do you ask someone to scooch over politely?

Me:  Scooch over, please.

Stella:  Not good enough.

Me:  What is good enough?

Stella:  A new big bed just for me.

Me:  There’s not enough room in here for another bed.

Stella:  Sure there is. Clean out that place where you keep hanging all those clothes of yours.

Me:  My closet? No way. You will have to learn to share.

Stella:  Share? What an ugly thing to say, Lady Human!



Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Can You Make It Stay This Way Forever? – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Hey, Lady Human!

Me:  Hey, yeah, what is it. Girl?

Stella:  Can you make this stay just the way it is?

Me:  This what?

Stella:  You know. Not too hot outside. Not too cold outside. Not too cold inside. Not too hot inside. Perfect. Can you make it stay perfect?

Me:  Uh. I’d like to. Today was pretty perfect, wasn’t it? I mean it was cloudy, but not rainy and not windy and no hot sun. You all enjoyed it, didn’t you? Even without the sunbaths.

Stella:  Sunbaths are great. But yeah, it was nice walking around on dry ground and not rushing to get back inside. I would like it if you would schedule more days for us like this.

Me:  I wish I could say truthfully that such a thing is in my power.

Stella:  Work on that, will you?





Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Stop the Baby Talk – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human has fallen into a bad habit. She speaks to us as though we are babies.

Me:  I do not.

Stella: “Time to go out. Go pooh-pooh, pee-pee.” Sounds like silly baby talk to me. When you open the door, don’t you think that we know what to do outside?

Me:  Uh, well, what I’ve noticed is that sometimes you all get to playing around and exploring and then you forget to get your business done.

Stella: “Business”? What is “business”?

Me:  That’s what my very polite father called bathroom matters.

Stella:  That’s strange. I thought ‘business’ is what humans say they do when they go to those mysterious places you call ‘work’.

Me:  It’s both, I guess.

Stella:  I like your father’s word. No more baby talk. Just call it ‘business’. We get the idea.






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Clean Up Your Own Mess – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human! Lady Human! Where have you been?

Me:  Sorry. I’m only a few minutes late. What’s the…oh.

Stella:  Sweetie did it. I told her you were coming in the door, but she didn’t believe me. She peed right there anyway.


Miss Sweetie:  I thought you were gone forever, Lady Human. I am sorry. I lost hope.

Tiger:  None of the rest of us did that. You just got impatient.

Wiggles:  Lady Human always comes back, Sweetie.

Me:  Okay, Sweetie, here’s a big towel. Clean up your mess.

Doodlebug:  What?

Stella:  Lady Human, what are you doing? You are the one who is supposed to clean up our messes.

Tiger:  We are dogs. We don’t do chores.

Doodlebug:  Look! Look at Sweetie.

Stella:  She’s using the towel to wipe up the mess.

Me:  I know. She’s done it before.

Miss Sweetie:  How’s that, Lady Human?

Me:  Good job. Let me take the towel. A little disinfectant here and there. And the job’s done.

Miss Sweetie:  Does that mean that I have your permission to pee in the house whenever…

Me:  No!

Stella:  No!

Tiger:  No!

Wiggles:  No!

Doodlebug:  No!

Miss Sweetie:  No?







Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved


Sneaking Snacks – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I have been cheated.

Me:  Cheated? When did this happen?

Stella:  Don’t play innocent, Lady Human. You know what you did.

Me:  What did I do?

Stella:  You were filling up our nighttime snacks for the nighttime Picture Box. Then, very sneakily, you slipped your hand into the cracker box and put a cracker in your mouth. Very sneaky and very wrong.

Me:  What’s wrong with me eating a cracker? I buy the crackers. I set up the snacks. Why can’t I eat a cracker?

Stella:  Not fair. Not even. You are getting more.

Me:  You get more than the others.

Stella:  SHHHH!

Me:  Oh, you haven’t told them about that, have you?

Stella:  Can’t I have any secrets?

Me:  Since I am the one fixing the snacks, no, not from me.

Stella:  Okay. I understand. You get an extra cracker to keep silent about our late-night Picture Box snack. A small price to pay. Sort of. Just remember. I’ve got my eye on you. One extra cracker for you. No more.





Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Wound Up Like An Eight-Day Clock – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Tiger:  Make him stop, Lady Human!

Wiggles:  Yeah, he won’t stop!

Miss Sweetie:  Aunt Stella, make him stop! You are the queen!

Stella:  I can’t stop him. He won’t.

Me:  He is wound up like an eight-day clock.

Stella:  Well, he does have an alarm clock in his belly. He always knows when we should eat.

Me:  Doodlebug! Stop barking!


Doodlebug:  I must bark. If I don’t, who will?

Me:  But there’s no reason to bark.

Doodlebug:  Of course, there is. Don’t you hear that?

Me:  Hear what?

Wiggles:  Wait. I hear it. But that doesn’t mean I am barking about it.

Me:  Now I do, too. That’s a machine they are using to remodel a house nearby. It has nothing to do with us.

Stella:  Is it an eight-day clock?

Me:  Nope.

Doodlebug:  It has something to do with me. It hurts my ears.

Me:  Sorry, Doodle. I can’t stop it. It won’t go on forever. Maybe you can settle down and take a nap.

Doodlebug:  Nope. I will just keep barking until they stop.

Me:  Oh, my.

Stella:  Lady Human, how do you unwind an eight-day clock?





Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Fake Dog Staring Contest – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, that fake dog that Tall Man gave you is staring at me. Make him stop.

Me:  Stella, you know that the fake dog is not a real animal. I let you sniff it and you seemed satisfied.


Stella:  Why do you need a fake dog when you have me?

Me:  The fake dog is a stuffed toy given as a token love gift. It is not a substitute for you. You are real. You are alive.

Stella:  He is staring at me. How dare he?

Me:  IT is just sitting where I placed IT. Do you want me to turn IT around so IT is not “looking” in your direction?

Stella:  No. If you do, he might get mad. Better that he and I meet eye-to-eye, predator to predator. What is that in his mouth? A bone? Is he taunting me?

Me:  He…It is not real. I’ll admit that it’s soft. It’s cute. It smells good. It was a gift from someone I love.

Stella:  So, you like him more than me?

Me:  When I pet you, you are soft. When I look at your face, you are cute. When I smell your scent, you smell…okay. And I believe with all my heart that you were a gift from God.

Stella:  You hear that, Fake Dog! So there! In your face! Wait! Is he angry?

Me:  Tell you what. Let me tuck it right back here on my headboard where I can see it, and you can’t. Better?

Stella:  Better. Not perfect. I know you’re there, Fake Dog! Don’t try anything!




Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Oh, My! The Toilet Engineer Strikes Again! – Conversations with Stella and Miss Sweetie


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. It has happened again.

Me:  I am so sorry. I was detained outside.

Stella:  And in your absence, Miss Sweetie decided that she could not wait and she…constructed her own toilet. Appalling.

Me:  Actually, I find it remarkable.

Stella:  What if I started constructing my own toilet? Would that be remarkable?

Me:  Well…yeah. Okay. So, Miss Sweetie used her food bowl as a toilet.

Stella:  Gross. Yuck. Horrible.

Me:  It’s not the first time that she has done something like this.

Stella:  I know! It doesn’t make it less appalling.

Me:  I am cleaning and sterilizing it. It’s not something I want to do.

Stella:  You agree. It’s…yuck!

Me:  Yeah but think about this. She…deposited the…refuse… all in one place. She is very specific.

Stella:  Next time she needs to be specific and go outside.

Me:  I am not usually distracted during bathroom time. Today was different.

Stella:  Don’t let it happen again.

Miss Sweetie:  Lady Human, I am so sorry. I couldn’t wait any longer.


Me:  That’s all right, Sweetie. I understand. I appreciate that you…contained it.

Miss Sweetie:  I did my best.

Me:  You made it a lot easier to clean up. Just understand. When I go outside, I am not going to stay out there forever.

Miss Sweetie:  In bathroom matters, please define ‘forever’.



Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Egg Aficionado – Conversations with Wiggles


I am Wiggles. I am not Stella. Shhh! I am trying to sneak some eggs from Lady Human. Don’t tell anybody.

Me:  You can have an egg or two.

Wiggles:  Whisper, Lady Human. If they hear you, I’ll miss my advantage.

Me:  I have enough eggs for everybody. You won’t miss out.

Wiggles:  But if you give me an egg in the kitchen when nobody else is looking, that is super special.

Me:  Okay. Well, here.

Wiggles:  Mmmm…

Stella:  Hey, what’s going on in there?

Me:  Nothing.

Wiggles:  I told you. Whisper.

Me:  Here. Have another one.

Wiggles:  Thanks, Lady Human. How come?

Me:  Just because. You are a true egg lover. I’ve never seen anybody love eggs as much as you do.

Wiggles:  They taste great. They smell wonderful. They are the perfect food. So is every other type of food.

Stella:  Hey, everybody! Wiggles is getting something in the kitchen that we aren’t! Charge!

Me:  Sorry, Wiggles, the game is up. They’re onto us.

Wiggles:  Hey, I still got mine. It was a nice try, Lady Human. Next time, talk less, whisper more. They are always listening and smelling.





Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



What are the Humans Up to Now? – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The humans did strange things today. But saying strange and human at the same time means normal. I suspect that another of their weird celebrations is afoot. It is not Christmas. It does not smell the same. It is not Thanksgiving. There is not enough food. It is not Independence Day. There are no fireworks going off. Thankfully!

Me:  Do you want me to tell you or do you want to make another guess?

Stella:  Human celebrations are exhausting. Please tell me.

Me:  What tipped you off?

Stella:  Tall Man gave you a fake dog and a flat shiny box.

Me:  Yeah, that was so sweet.

Stella:  May I chew on the fake dog?

Me:  No!

Stella:  How about the flat shiny box?

Me:  No! Absolutely not! It has chocolate in it.

Stella:  So today humans give each other fake dogs and boxes of chocolate.

Me:  Among other things.

Stella:  I know. This is Fake Dog Day!

Me:  Not exactly.

Stella:  Why not? Don’t humans like fake dogs? You seemed to like the one that Tall Man gave you.

Me:  I did like it very much. Today is Valentine’s Day. It is a day to share expressions of love.

Stella:  Fake dogs equal love?

Me:  Sort of.

Stella:  What about us real dogs? Don’t we equal love?

Me:  Sure. But you all are here to love every day. And you’re not fake. You are real.

Stella:  Aw, that’s sweet, Lady Human. I think you are real, too. Happy Valentine’s Day. Now about those chocolates…

Me:  No. Absolutely not.

Stella:  Aww.





Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Six Worst Words – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. There are only a few words that humans use toward us. Don’t. No. Stop. Come here. Go there. Hush. That’s about it. If we know those words, we get along fine.

Me:  I don’t think that…

Stella:  You see. Right there. Don’t. That word comes up an awful lot.

Me:  Don’t is short for “do not”.

Stella:  Because humans are always against things.

Me:  Because humans have to stop animals from doing things they should not.

Stella:  Why not use the word “no”? Isn’t that the same as “don’t”? And why are all human words negative?

Me:  They aren’t necessarily negative.

Stella:  A likely story.

Me:  They are meant to be instructive.

Stella:  You are beginning to sound like the cat. Meow.

Me:  What?

Stella:  You know. Lots of sound with no meaning.

Me:  If you all would just do what you are supposed to, none of those words would be an issue.

Stella:  That’s where we disagree. If you would just do what you are supposed to, none of those words would be an issue.

Me:  Who’s in charge here?

Stella:  Lady Human, really? After all this time, are you still asking that question?






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Why Are You Staring at Me? – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Why are you staring at me?

Stella:  Who said I was staring at you, Lady Human?

Me:  No one had to say it. I am sitting right here watching you stare at me with your big old bulldog eyes.

Stella:  Why am I staring at you?

Me:  That’s what I would like to know.

Stella:  You are staring at me. Why are you staring at me?

Me:  Because you are staring at me.

Stella:  I know what this is. It’s that silly human game. A staring contest. I win.

Me:  If we are having a staring contest, you can’t just declare yourself the winner. You have to win.

Stella:  That’s what I said. I win.

Me:  Well, if that’s all it takes, I win.

Stella:  Too late. I already won.

Me:   That’s not the way it works.

Stella:  How does it work?

Me:  One of us has to blink or look away.

Stella:  And then I win?

Me:  Only if you are the one who blinks or looks away.

Stella:  Surely you know I will not look away.

Me:  I’m beginning to think that.

Stella:  What is this blink thing?

Me:  It’s when you close your eyes briefly like this. Oh, no.

Stella:  I win. Never go eyeball to eyeball with a bulldog.




Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Best Time of Every Day – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human!

Me:  Just a second.

Stella:  Lady Human!

Me:  Another minute, Stella.

Stella:  Lady Human!!!

Me:  What?

Stella: I’m ready for bed.

Me:  Okay. I’ll be ready in a bit.

Stella:  What’s taking so long?

Me:  Stuff. All sorts of stuff. If you are bored, take a nap.

Stella:  I’ll wait. I’m just ready.

Me:  Do you feel all right?

Stella:  Yeah. It’s just that…

Me:  What, girl?

Stella:  I look forward to this time every day. It’s my favorite time. I get to go back to your room with you. I get to share snacks with you. It makes me feel special. I look forward to it every day after the sun goes to bed.

Me:  I’m glad. Thank you, Stella. That makes me feel special, too.

Stella: This is not about you, Lady Human.

Me:  Sorry. I forgot.



Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

That’s MY Chair! – Conversations with Stella, Miss Sweetie, and Moon Cat


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Miss Sweetie:  I demand justice.


Stella:  Okay, sure thing. What’s the problem?

Me:  What is the problem? I heard the grumbling all over the house.

Miss Sweetie:  That was not grumbling. I do not grumble.

Me:  Well, it was long and unending and was not barking.

Miss Sweetie:  Lady Human, she is in my chair!

Me:  You mean the cat? Moon?


Miss Sweetie:  Look! Get out of my chair, cat!

Moon Cat:  Meow.

Stella:  Typical.

Me:  That is not your chair, Sweetie. It is a human’s chair. Why can’t Moon use it once in a while? The only time you use it is when you are rampaging.

Miss Sweetie:  My chair! Mine! Mine! Mine!

Me:  Stop. Why can’t you share? Moon even uses my chair every so often.

Miss Sweetie:   And that’s why you have cat hair all over your clothes and why you smell like a cat. Who wants that?

Me:  Moon, be so kind as to move off the chair.

Moon Cat:  Why?

Me:  To keep the peace.

Moon Cat:  Why?

Me:  Because I want to have a peaceful night.

Moon Cat:  With a houseful of bulldogs? Not my business.






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Why Are Your Nails Funny Colors? – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What are you doing to yourself, Lady Human?

Me:  Painting my nails.

Stella:  Are those like my toenails?

Me:  Yeah, but human nails are flat compared to dog nails.

Stella:  That is so weird. And it smells funny.

Me:  That’s the nail color.

Stella:  Why are you doing it?

Me:  I don’t do it often, but every once in a while, I like to try something new. A new color. Or a new nail treatment. Today was that once in a while.

Stella:  May I lick them?

Me:  No. At least not until the polish dries fully. You don’t want this stuff in your mouth.

Stella:  Will you do that to my nails?

Me:  With the way you lick on them and chew on them? No way.

Stella:  Don’t you chew and lick on your nails?

Me:  Not anymore. I did sometimes when I was a kid.

Stella:  Well, all I can say is that you are missing out on a special treat.






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Where Is Our Snow? – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I demand that the weather humans tell us where has winter gone?

Me:  The weather humans?

Stella:  Those humans that point to stuff and say, “It’s going to be this tomorrow and it’s going to be that the next day” and then it’s never the way they say.

Me:  It is. Sometimes. Weather is very changeable around here. What’s the problem? It was pleasant this afternoon. 80 degrees. Not usual for this time of year, but I’ve seen it before.

Stella:  But this is what you call winter.

Me:  Yeah.

Stella:  And winter is cold.

Me:  Around here, maybe.

Stella:  I want to know one thing. Where is our snow?

Me:  Snow is an iffy thing here.

Stella:  I saw snow on the Picture Box. There was a lot of it.

Me:  That was up north of here by a good ways. Lots of folks suffered from too much snow.

Stella:  If they have too much, why don’t they share it with us?

Me:  Snow doesn’t work that way. It pretty much stays where it falls. I wouldn’t mind taking some of the burden, but there is no way to ship it to where we are.

Stella:  Not fair. Tell those weather humans that they need to do a better job of spreading the snow around.



Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

He Looks Like a Squirrel to Me – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Humans were talking stupid stuff today. There is supposedly a fat squirrel a long way from here that the humans think can tell what the weather will be in the future. I am glad he is a long way from here, because I would chase him if he were where I am. And I would, too. You just watch me.

Me:  Are you talking about Punxsutawney Phil?

Stella:  Something like that, yeah.

Me:  That’s a groundhog, not a squirrel.

Stella:  He looks like a squirrel to me. I know how squirrels are. They are always wrong.

Me:  About the weather?

Stella:  About everything.

Me:  It’s a tradition up in Punxsutawney that Phil can predict when spring weather will come based on whether or not he sees his shadow today. If he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, spring will come early.

Stella:   And he did not see his shadow today so he says there will be an early spring.

Me:  That’s what I heard.

Stella:  What are shadows caused by, Lady Human?

Me:   Light shining on something.

Stella:  So old Phil did not see his shadow because there was no sun where he was today.

Me:  That’s the report.

Stella:  Was it cold where he was today?

Me:  Yes.

Stella:  Was it cold here?

Me:  You know. It was 63 degrees. Like spring.

Stella:  Lady Human, I think Phil is confused. I think he was predicting our weather, not his. That’s what humans get for listening to a squirrel.








Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.