Where Are My Shoes? – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Where are my shoes? Huh? My shoes, where are they?

Me:  What shoes? You don’t have shoes.

Stella:  Yes, I do. I saw them. You got them for me. Shoes! To protect my little feet on wet days like this.

Me:  Oh, those didn’t fit well. They were too small. I am going to have to dedicate myself to making new ones.

Stella:  And why haven’t you dedicated yourself?

Me:  Uh. I don’t know. Lazy?

Stella:  Well said.

Me:  You don’t need shoes this time of year.

Stella:  Hello! Look outside. Mud! Mud and muddy mud and more muddy mud!

Me:  You can wipe your feet when you come back in.

Stella:  But I don’t want to. I want my special little feet to be clean the whole way.

Me:  Why do you keep saying ‘little feet’? Have you looked at your feet?

Stella:  Of course. They are little. Have you looked at yours, Lady Human? I wouldn’t be talking about mine if I were you.








Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

What’s That Monster in the Chimney? – Conversations with Stella


20151220_230434.jpgI am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, we have a problem.

Me:  What? I don’t see anything.

Stella:  It’s not your eyes that you need to use. It’s your ears. Listen.

Me:  Okay.  I hear it.

Stella:  Lady Human, I hate to be the one to have to tell you, but there is a monster living in the chimney.

Me:  It’s not a monster, Stella.

Stella:  Listen to that noise. It sounds like a machine.

Me:  A little machine. It’s a chimney sweep.

Stella:  Is that the monster’s name? Who let a monster in our chimney?

Me:  The chimney screen must have blown aside during that big 100 mile per hour windstorm. It’s a chimney sweep, a kind of bird that makes homes in chimneys. We haven’t had one for decades.

Stella:  A bird?

Me:  Yes, a little bird that makes that kind of noise, like a small wind-up toy.

Stella:  Oh, no! What if you set a fire in that place? What will happen to the bird?

Me:  We won’t be setting any fires in the fireplace for a good long time. By then, the chimney sweep will be long gone. Don’t worry. We just have to replace the screen on the chimney top before next fall.. We’ll give them a spell to move on out.

Stella:  You are sure that it’s not a monster.

Me:  Double sure.

Stella:  All right then. We’ll see. Though I don’t put a whole lot of stock in the opinions of humans to determine whether something is a monster or not.







Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Welcome Back, Cold Air Boxes! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The air is hot, outside and in. How did our ancestors ever stand it?

Me:  I don’t know. But they did. Still, I am turning on the air conditioners. I figure, if we’ve got’ em, use ‘em. If they had them, they would have used them. Practical people, those settlers.

Tiger:  I feel it. The air is cooling.

Miss Sweetie:  How can a box make the air colder? Is it like your rolling box that makes the air colder inside?

Me:  Sort of. The car has an air conditioner built into it.

Doodlebug:  Can we bring that one in here, too? The more cold air boxes, the better.

Me:  The car won’t fit in here. It has to stay outside.

Wiggles:  Cold air! Cold air! Cold air!

Me:  Wiggles, the calmer you stay, the cooler you’ll be.

Wiggles: Cold air! Cold air! Cold air!

Me:  Suit yourself.

Stella:  Thank you for the cold air boxes, Lady Human. When will the Great Creator’s cold air boxes turn back on?

Me:  Three and a half months, give or take.

Stella:  Give or take? Give me colder air. I’ll take it.







Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




The Good Sense to Come in Out of the Sun – Conversations with Stella and Tiger


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am no fool.

Me:  No, you are not, but why are you saying so?

Stella:  I know when to come in out of the sun.

Tiger: Me, too.


Me:  I’ve noticed that. Humans have an old saying about common sense – the sense to come in out of the rain.

Stella:  Humans are foolish. Never go out in the rain!

Tiger:  Yes, if it is raining, stay inside!

Stella:  Now the sun is a different matter because the sun can make things hot.

Tiger:  Never stay out in the heat.

Me:  Okay, I’ll keep that in mind.

Stella:  Of course, that is a good rule for bulldogs, Lady Human. We don’t really care if humans stay out in the sun.

Tiger:  Yeah, stay out as long as you want.

Me:  Okay, I’ll keep that in mind as well.

Stella:  But wear a hat.

Tiger:  Yes, wear a hat. Humans look funny with hats on.

Stella:  Once again, as rare as it is, Tiger and I agree. Wear a hat so we can laugh at you, Lady Human.

Me:  You know, I have a few hats for dogs…

Stella:  Don’t even think that!






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Get Your Big Bulldog Nose Out of My Face! – Conversations with Stella and Tiger


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. How rude! How dare you stare at me with your big bulldog eyes! Did no one teach you manners when you were a puppy? Get your big bulldog nose out of my face!

Me:  Stella! What’s going on? Tiger, back up! Neutral corners! NOW!

Tiger:  Oh, no. She is shouting the NOW word. She must be serious.


Me:  You have no idea how serious. Tiger, of all the dogs in this pack, you know how serious it is when one dog confronts another dog, eyeball to eyeball.

Tiger:  Yes, ma’am.

Me:  So why were you confronting Stella? You saw her hackles go up.

Tiger:  I didn’t mean to eyeball her, not in a threatening way. I just wanted to smell her face.

Me:  Why?

Tiger:  She smelled…good. She had just come back in and I thought she had found something good to eat outside.

Me:  Really?

Tiger:  I think so.

Stella:  A likely story.

Me:  Do you smell good, Stella?

Stella:  I always smell good. I sniff myself all the time to make sure. Tiger needs to learn manners.

Me:  We try, but we are not dogs. We just control circumstances, and we try to understand. I don’t know what happened in your young life, Tiger, before that horrible fight, the one that caused you to come to us. Let me tell you something that my parents taught me. It is not polite to stare.

Tiger:  Humans teach that?

Me:  Yes.

Tiger:  Because you are predators?

Me:  Perhaps. But also because it is considered rude and challenging and intrusive. We need to keep working on your body language.

Tiger:  Are you giving up on me?

Me:  No. Why would I ever do that?

Tiger:  Others have.

Me:  Others have given up on me, too. So what?

Stella:  I am sorry, Lady Human.

Me:  For what, Stella?

Stella:  For letting my hackles get the better of me.








Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




Typical Cat Behavior – Conversations with Stella and Moon Cat


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human is always complaining about our behavior. We’re rude. We’re loud. Well, what do you think about our behavior now, ma’am?

Me:  Are you referring to the cat?

Stella:  I saw what she did. There you were being all nice to her and brushing out her hair and she was all quiet and then…BOOM! Cat screech! Cat scratch! And why? Because cat! That’s why!

Me:  Yeah. Cats have a way about them, don’t they?

Stella:  Is that all you’re going to say? What about inappropriate behavior? How about blah, blah, blah, cut that out?

Me:  You have to talk to cats differently than you do to dogs.

Stella:  I don’t have to talk to cats at all!


Me:  I mean dogs respond to humans in a different way. For example, I point and tell you to go a certain direction, most of the time, you do.

Stella:  I do not! How insulting to suggest such a thing!

Me:  I mean dogs tend to cooperate with us a little more than a lot of cats do. I don’t mean that bulldogs are pushovers.

Stella:  I still think you need to lecture the cat on appropriate behavior.

Me:  And what do you think Moon Cat’s response will be to a lecture?

Stella:  Meow.

Moon Cat:  Meow.

Stella:  Typical.







Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

A Visitor with a Badge – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Going and coming and coming and going! Why are so many humans interrupting our days? Yesterday it was the Little Human. And then the person known as Raj. And then someone else! Who was that last person, Lady Human?

Me:  A police officer.

Stella:  One with shiny metal jewelry on his shirt?

Me:  A badge? Yes.

Stella:  Why do you keep inviting these people to our house at nap time?

Me:  The police come when they can. Somebody stole at package from our front porch. A neighbor saw it and reported it.

Stella:  Well, who invited the package snatcher here?

Me:  Nobody. That’s the point.

Stella:  What did he steal? WAIT! Was it our food?

Me:  No.

Stella:  What is your food?

Me:  No.

Stella:  Then just how serious is this?

Me:  He stole from at least one other neighbor so it’s serious. The funny thing is…what he stole from here…were some Bible study materials, writings about the Great Creator’s Book.

Stella:  What? He stole from the Great Creator.

Me:  I believe anytime someone steals, they are stealing from Him. The funny thing is when that man opens that package, he may find the most valuable thing that has ever come into his hands. I hope and pray so anyway.

Stella:  Okay. I agree. So long as it wasn’t our food.





Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Inappropriate Behavior Part 2 – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. That was awesome. Did you hear us, Lady Human?

Me:  How could anyone not hear you?

Stella:  Why are you put out? We did not bark at the little human pup…okay, not puppy.

Me:  But you did at our other visitor.

Tiger:  Who was he? I don’t remember seeing him before.

Me:  You have, but it was a long time ago.

Wiggles:  He did not smell familiar to me.

Me:  His name is Raj and I think you overwhelmed him a little.

Doodlebug:  Good. That means we did our job as bulldogs.

Miss Sweetie:  He seemed nice. That’s why I used my big barking voice so he would feel welcome.

Me:  Did you see how fast he backed out of the room?

Miss Sweetie:  Because we were wonderfully overwhelming?

Me:  I wouldn’t attach the word ‘wonderfully’ to that.

Stella:  Who was this visitor?

Me:  I told you. His name is Raj. He is Tall Man’s friend. They are working on Raj’s computer.

Stella:  So, he brought us food.

Me:  No. Computers are not food.

Stella:  Did he bring us toys?

Me:  No.

Stella:  He must have brought us treats.

Me:  No.

Stella:  Then why did he come?

Me:  I told you.

Stella:  Computer? That makes no sense. That has nothing to do with us.

Me:  Not everything is about you.

Stella:  Just as I said. Nonsense.








Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Inappropriate Behavior – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  And as such, you and I need to have a talk.

Stella:  Uh-oh.

Me:  Yep. Big uh-oh.

Stella:  Does this have something to do with the little human puppy who visited today?

Me:   Puppy, Stella?

Stella:  Oh, all right. Not a puppy.

Me:  That’s right.

Stella:  But she’s still like one, all small and cuddly.

Me:  Yep.

Stella:  We like her. She is exciting.

Me:  Yep. She finds you all exciting, too…a little too exciting in the noise department.

Stella:  Lady Human, whatever do you mean?

Me:  Loud, incessant barking when she shows up. Loud, incessant barking when she leaves.

Stella:  But we don’t want her to go.

Me:  When you were little, did you like loud barking?

Stella:  Sure. It let me know that my pack was alert and nearby and I was safe.

Me:  But you’re a dog.

Stella:  A bulldog, thank you very much.

Me:  Well, that little child is human, and barking is not one of our traditions.

Stella:  Does our barking mean that we are wicked?

Me:  No. It’s more like inappropriate behavior. It’s what we humans call ‘rude’.

Stella:  Rude. Yep, that sounds like us.









Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Sneaky, Sneaky Humans – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human sneaked out of the house again today. We have no idea where she went.

Tiger:  Shhhh! She will hear us.

Wiggles:  Does she smell like beef?

Miss Sweetie:  I smell food.

Doodlebug:  Beef?

Miss Sweetie:  No, not good food.

Stella:  So, she went someplace that had bad human food.

Doodlebug:  What was it? I can’t get close enough to smell her clothes.

Stella:  Just sneak up behind her. Hey, she sneaked out on us, didn’t she?

Me:  Hey, stop that.

Doodlebug:  May I please sniff your pants?

Me:  No, sir. I don’t need bulldog nose boogers on my clothes, thank you.

Doodlebug:  What if I can sniff your clothes without leaving nose boogers?

Me:  That has never happened yet, so the answer is still ‘no’.

Tiger:  You sneaked out. You ate food. We stayed here. It was sad.

Me:  Every once in a while, I go out for a few hours. Today I went to a movie. I haven’t been to one in a long time.

Stella:  Poor us. Why couldn’t you just watch the silly Picture Box here? It has all those silly human movies on it.

Me:  This one is new, and I wanted to see it on a big screen.

Stella:   Like your Picture Box is not big enough. Those humans on that thing are big enough to eat my head. Wait. Can they eat my head?

Me:  No. They are just flat pictures. They can’t come out of the television.

Stella:  Are you sure?

Me:  Positive.

Stella:  I don’t know, Lady Human. Someone who would sneak away from her dogs simply to watch a giant Picture Box might not know what a little Picture Box is capable of. Don’t you feel guilty now?

Me:  Maybe a little.

Stella:  Enough to let me sniff your clothes?




Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Bulldog Grass Trimmers – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human is spending too much time trimming down the wild grasses.

Me:  This has been a wet spring. When the weather dries out as summer comes on, the grasses will not grow so fast.

Tiger:  Lady Human, we have a plan.

Doodlebug:  We want to help you with the wild grasses.

Me:  Well, I saw out back where you all trampled some of it down before I even got a chance to cut it.  I still have to chop it up or it will snag our feet.

Miss Sweetie:  We can help you. Even without a long stick that makes an annoying noise.

Wiggles:  Yes. We can help. Our teeth will do the job. Grass eating is a specialty of ours.

Stella:  Let us help, Lady Human.

Me:  I know. I’ve seen you. Honestly, I don’t believe that you can trim all the wild grass as much as you would like to. While I appreciate the offer, but I expect I will still be using my grass trimmer.

Stella:  Suit yourself. We try to save you time. We try to save you money.

Miss Sweetie:  We try to eat your delicious grass. And then sometimes we throw it up.

Me:  Okay, thank you.

Stella:  Here we are…a bunch of bulldog grass trimmers. Some humans just don’t know when they’ve got a good deal.





Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





The Joys of the Cold, Wet Mud – Conversations with Stella and Miss Sweetie


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. It has been cold, and the sky has been crying all day.

Me:  Yesterday set a record low for cold around here in May. Why isn’t Sweetie coming in? It’s all wet out there.

20170315_170602.jpgStella:  Sweetie likes water.

Me:  Baths and puppy pools, yeah, but she’s never been a fan of mud and rain. I’m going out to see what she’s up to. Sweetie!

Stella:  Look behind the chicken run.

Me:  Sweetie!

Miss Sweetie:  Over here, Lady Human!

Me:  Why are you just sitting there?

Miss Sweetie:  This is my special hiding place.

Me:  Sorry to say this, girl, but you aren’t hidden very well.

Miss Sweetie:  But these little trees are hiding me.

Me:  Not so much.

Miss Sweetie:  Awww. I just wanted some privacy.

Me:  Well, you can sit there if you want. Isn’t the ground pretty cold and wet though?

Miss Sweetie:  Mmmm. The way I like it.

Me:  Okay…well…enjoy it.

Miss Sweetie:  May I come back inside?

Me:  Sure. Whenever you’re ready.

Miss Sweetie:  I’M READY!

Me:  I thought you were enjoying…

Miss Sweetie:  Lady Human, do you enjoy sitting in cold mud?

Me:  No, I can’t say that I do.

Miss Sweetie: Why can’t you say?

Me:  That means I don’t.

Miss Sweetie:  It is an acquired habit.

Me:  How did you acquire it?

Miss Sweetie: By sitting in cold mud.







Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.








Real Animals for a Real World – Conversations with Stella


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

Me:  Yep. You sure are. REAL real.

Stella:  I already said that, Lady Human. Now you are repeating me and yourself. As I was saying, I am real. A real live dog. But Lady Human has all sorts of fake animals sitting around. There are dogs and bears and a tiger and an elephant and even a frog…ewww.

Me:  Lots of variety.

Stella:  But you have real animals, like me and the pack and Pearl the Parakeet and Moon Cat and the chickens. What do you need with stuffed animals? A stuffed animal is not nearly as alive as a real one.

Me:  I know, but you can’t use a real animal as a pillow. At least not all the time.

Stella:  I use you as a pillow all the time.

Me:  True.

Stella:  You are nice and squishy.

Me:  Thank you. I think. The thing about stuffed animals for pillows is that they are cushy, and they don’t move around. And some of them are gifts from a long time ago and reminders.

Stella:  Aren’t we reminders?

Me:  Sure. Every day. But these things are reminders of what happened way before I ever met any of y’all. They remind me of who gave them to me and where they came from. Like that bear, for instance. It came from a little shop in Alexandria, Virginia many years ago. And Tall Man gave me that elephant one day when I was feeling a little down. How could I keep real elephants and bears in the house? And then there’s still the whole soft pillow issue.

Stella:  You can use me for a pillow, Lady Human.

Me:  Really?

Stella:  Sure. For about as long as it takes you to fall asleep.





Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



The Watch Chicken – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Evening has settled in. It is almost snacking, Picture Box-watching bedtime for me and Lady Human and… wait…what’s that infernal racket?

Me:  One of the chickens is squawking about something. Let me go see.

Stella:  Me, too! I’m in charge here. Hey, what’s all that noise? Be quiet!

Me:  There’s a loud rumbling from somewhere. Probably a big truck. Shhh. It’s okay. Settle down.


Stella:  Why did she settle down when you said to? She ignored me. That’s just plain wrong.

Me:  They like it when I shush them. I guess they like the sound. It’ll be dark soon. They’ll go to sleep.

Stella: Is she like a guard dog, only she’s a watch chicken? How did that happen?

Me:  I don’t know. Loud noises can stir them up.

Stella:  Nope. Dogs watch and guard. Not chickens. What does she think she’s going to do? Chase off a dog or a human? I’d like to see that. Chickens chasing people.

Me:  It happens. Depends on how irritated the chicken is.

Stella:  I wouldn’t try it if I were her. No chicken is ever going to out irritate a bulldog.








Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Smoked Beef Sundays – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I always know when it is Sunday.

Tiger:  Me, too. Lady Human comes home from church smelling like smoked beef.

Stella:  Hey, I was going to say that!

Miss Sweetie:  Me, too.

Doodlebug:  Me, too.

Wiggles:  I was going to say that she leaves early and comes back when our lunch is late.

Me:  I don’t come home that late on Sundays. I do usually go to lunch with someone.

Wiggles:  And you come back smelling like the place where you ate. Today, it was a smoked beef place.

Tiger:  I hope you brought some home for everyone.

Me:  No, I did not.

Tiger:  Typical.

Stella:  For shame, Lady Human! You lied to a dog! I saw the box in your hand.

Me:  I did not lie. I brought food home, but I did not bring it for everyone. I brought it for me.

Stella:  Typical. Who are these Sunday people who put temptation in our paths by going to beef houses? Now we will be thinking about smoked beef all day long.

Me:  You are making me start to feel badly…maybe I can…

Stella:  Yee hah! You will share your beef?

Me:  No, but you can sniff my clothes again if it will make you feel better.

Stella:  That’s not much…

Tiger:  But better than nothing.

Wiggles:  Quick, before the scent fades.

Doodlebug:  Mmmmm, my favorite!

Miss Sweetie:  Lady Human, never wash your clothes again.

Me:  I believe that would be a mistake long term.









Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Yard Zipper – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde Bulldogges. Lady Human is playing in the yard with her new toy and she is not sharing. So unfair.

Me:  Whew! Glad that’s done for another few days.

Stella:  Why couldn’t we play with you, Lady Human?

Me:  I wasn’t playing.

Stella:  Sure, you were. We heard your new toy zipping around the yard.

Me:  That’s not a toy. It’s my new grass and weed trimmer.

Stella:  It sounds fun. But you’re keeping all the fun to yourself.

Me:  It’s no toy. It’s a tool for cutting down weeds and tall grass in tight places.

Stella:  We can do that. Just let us have the toy. Or better yet, you use it and we’ll chase it.

Me:  I can’t even risk having you outside when I’m using it. You all are already too interested in it when it’s just sitting around doing nothing but cooling off. When it’s running, it could hit you or sling pebbles or sharp grass blades at you.

Stella:  So, it’s like a dodge ball game. Or a throw ball game. Cool!

Me:   Stella, you don’t like those games. When I try them, you run to the door to get inside.

Stella:  But that’s the point of the whole game! Just think how fast I can run with the yard zipper throwing stuff at me.









Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.







My Game, My Rules – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Would Stella the Queen mind settling down when she is on my bed?

Stella:  Wait. I will ask her. Oh, that’s me. Would I mind settling down when I am on Lady Human’s bed? I would if I could, but I can’t.

Me:  Can’t? Or won’t?

Stella:  Same difference. I am a bulldog. I can’t do what I can’t do. I can’t do what I won’t do. And I won’t do what I can’t do.

Me:  That makes a strange amount of sense.

Stella:  Bulldog sense.

Me:  Does there have to be so much flipping around?

Stella:  This is a flipping game. Flipping games mean flipping. My game, my rules.

Me:  Why can’t we play one of my games?

Stella:  One of your games where we sit around and stare at each other.

Me:  Yeah, that sounds good.

Stella:  I will be blunt, Lady Human. Your games are boring. Now it’s your turn to flip.

Me:  I don’t flip very well.

Stella:  I know. That’s why I always win. Too late. You lost your turn. My turn to flip again because…

Me:  Let me guess. Your game, your rules.




Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.