Toy Day is HERE! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! TOY DAY IS HERE!

Tiger:  How do you know?

Stella:  The box! The box! Lady Human has the box!

Me:  Settle down. This will take a minute or so to set up. I just ordered it yesterday. It came so fast.

Stella: But you said you were getting it centuries ago.

Me:  That was a couple of days ago, but I didn’t actually get the order in until yesterday.

Stella:  Lady Human, for shame! You lied to a dog.

Me:  Well, they’re here now.

Doodlebug:  Mine!

Miss Sweetie:  Mine!

Wiggles:  Mine!

Tiger:  Aw. There won’t be any left for me.

Me:  There are enough for everyone to get a toy. I picked some new style ones this year. Okay, first. Stella. Stella?

Stella:  I am giving my turn to Sweetie.

Me:  What? Why?

Stella:  I always get to go first because I am… oldest. Sweetie never gets to go first because she is young. She should get to go first this time.

Me:  That’s kind of you, Stella.

Stella:  I am that kind of bulldog. A kind one.

Me:  Sweetie, go for it.

Miss Sweetie:  Which one? Which one? This one!

Me:  All right! The tough chew that looks like a stick but is maple bacon-flavored. Okay, Stella, do go this time.

Stella:  Okay! Okay! This one!

Me:  Tough chew bone flavored like peanut butter. That’s a switch. Wiggles, your turn.

Wiggles:  Easy. This one smells like BACON! Mine!

Me:  Tough chew bacon-flavored bone. Tiger, you’re next.

Tiger:  What is that? Hey, Wiggles has one like that! I want that one so I can be like Wiggles! And it smells like beef.

Me:  Blue multi-sided tough chew bone. Okay, Doodle, you have two to pick from.

Doodlebug:  This one is different. I want to be different.

Me:  That one is made to look like an antler and smell like venison. Since you’ve never seen either, that would be different for you.

Stella:  There is still one left, just like before.

Me:  I know. I still like to order six. That’s just me being weird.

Stella:  I also remember Snoopey, Lady Human. It’s not weird to remember. Maybe we can give it to a dog that doesn’t have a toy and then that dog can remember Snoopey, too.






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.






The Day Tiger Came Home – Conversations with Stella and Tiger


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I remember that day. Tiger came home.

Me:  Four years ago today. Just after her first birthday.


Tiger:  I don’t remember. Not much anyway.  I remember Tall Man. I remember Lady Human feeding me milk and water from a tube. Everything else is fuzzy.

Stella:  I remember. She looked terrible. You put her in a safe bed next to me. All I could do was watch. She couldn’t even stand up.

Tiger:  Everything was strange. And pain. I remember pain. My legs and face hurt a lot.

Me:  It was a hard time. That tussle you got into with your kennel mate almost did you in. That was four years ago. And here you are.

Stella:  But the Great Creator saved your life. Even the white coat lady did not give you much hope, even with all her medicines. Lady Human told us how the people asked the Great Creator for you to live.

Me:  And you started getting better really fast.

Tiger:  Yes. Things became clearer. And there was less pain. And I could walk again. But there are still marks on my legs.

Me:  Scars. Battle scars. Many humans have them, too.

Tiger:  I’ve never had another battle since that time.

Me:  No. For my part, I plan that you never will.

Tiger:  That other dog lived with me. I don’t know why she attacked me.

Me:  A dog thing, I guess. You are safe now.

Tiger:  Safe. Yes. Safe. That is a great word.

Me:  Happy Homecoming Day, Tiger.






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Toy Time – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The day has finally come. TOY TIME!

Me:  It’s not exactly today.

Stella:  But you said. No fair!

Me:  I said I was shopping for toys.

Tiger:  It has been so long.

Wiggles:  Too long. Too long.

Miss Sweetie:  Our chew sticks are so worn out. Why? Oh, why has it been so long?

Me:  I save up nickels and dimes to get you all new toys.

Doodlebug:  Nickels and dimes. Who are they?

Miss Sweetie:  They are friends of Lady Human.

Tiger:  Why are they allowed to hold up our toys?

Me:  Because the company won’t ship without them.

Stella:  Can I see? Can I see?

Me:  We’re going to do this the same way as last year. I’ll pick strong, safe chew sticks and you will all get a chance to pick.

Stella:  But me first, right?

Me:  Remind me why?

Stella:  Awww. Do I have to say it?

Me:  You want the first pick, don’t you?

Stella:  Yes. Okay. Because I am the oldest.

Me:  Was that so hard?

Stella:  I feel older just for saying it.






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Queen of the Hill – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. A mountain appeared in our territory about a century ago.

Me:  Time references are still a challenge for you, girl, aren’t they?

Stella:  It was a long, long, long time ago.

Me:  If you are referring to the mound of sawdust left by the removal of the downed oak tree, that appeared a few days ago, not a century. A century is one hundred years.

Stella:  Yes, exactly. A century ago.

Me:  Oh, never mind.

Stella:  Now everybody thinks that the mountain is the only place to sunbathe, like it is a big deal. Phuuf! I am not impressed.

Me:  Is that because the others get to the top of the mound first?

Stella:  Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t know. I think they look silly all sprawled out on top of that heap.

Me:  Because you want to be sprawled out on top of that heap?

Stella:  Hmmph! I am the top of the heap! I am the Queen!

Me:  When I was a kid, we used to play a game called ‘King of the Hill’.  If we found a pile of dirt, we would rush to the top and try to stay there by pushing everyone else off.

Stella:  It sounds like a fun bulldog game. I’m surprised humans came up with it. Did you ever win?

Me:  For a little bit.

Stella:  That’s what I must do. I must become Queen of the Hill. Come on, Lady Human. I will push you off the mountain. You are already used to losing.






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

I Do What I Want – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human loves me. I always do what she says because she wants the best for me.

Me:  Uhhhh….

Stella:  Whereas Wiggles…

Wiggles:  I do what I want. Except when I don’t. Then I do something else. And that’s what I want.

Me:  And right now, you need to come inside. It’s too hot out here. It’s 96 degrees but feels like 101.

Wiggles:  Feels fine to me.

Me:  Then why are you panting?

Wiggles:  I am not panting. I am just breathing loudly.

Stella:  You see?

Me:  Come on. Let’s go inside.

Wiggles:  I like it here.

Stella:  So stubborn.

Me:  Okay. I’ll have to put the lead on you. I can’t let you stay out here.

Wiggles:  I do what I want.

Me:  There. It’s on.

Wiggles:  Okay.

Me:  You don’t mind?

Wiggles:  When you put the lead on me, it makes me feel loved. Like a giant necklace of love. So, now, because of the love necklace, I have to do what you want.







Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

This Used To Be a Peaceful Place – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. My world has been peaceful for so long, but now, that is over.

Me:  It was over for me when I met a whole pack of barking bulldogs and they came to live with me.

Stella:  I have no idea what you mean. What I mean is the whole world is loud and weird now and it all started with that loud, weird storm. All that buzzing and banging and booming.

Me:  There is still a lot of clean up going on.

Stella:  How is a calm, quiet bulldog supposed to sleep? And nap? And nap some more? And then sleep again?

Me:  I haven’t noticed you having a problem with that.

Stella:  I’m good at playing possum.






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

My Quiet Space – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am in my quiet space. It is soft and squishy and nobody bothers me here. This will go on for as long as I want it to…Wait. What’s that? Lady Human! A giant is stomping on the roof! Monster bees are attacking the house! RUN! NO, DON’T RUN! HIDE!

Me: It’s all right, girl!

Stella: NO! NOT ALL RIGHT! Don’t you hear the pack barking! They don’t bark when everything’s all right!

Me: Uh, yes, they do.

Stella: Well, this isn’t one of those useless barking times. This is real. Something is attacking the house.

Me: Here’s what’s happening. Do you remember the big storm?

Stella: Sure. That’s why the big tree lives on the house now.

Me: No, hon. The big tree isn’t alive anymore. What you hear are men walking on the roof and chainsaws cutting up the tree.

Stella: The big tree can’t stay there?

Me: The storm ripped it out of the ground and trees have to stay grounded in order to live.

Stella: Oh.

Me: Don’t worry. The men are here to help. They are not attacking the house.

Stella: May we keep a look out, just in case their chainsaw bees change their minds and take over?

Me: Sure.

Stella: Will you stay with us?

Me: Sure. Do you feel better now?

Stella: I’ll feel better when the monster bees go home.

Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Stranger in the House – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. A stranger is in the house!

Me: It’s all right. I know all about it.

Stella: I am not talking about the tiny human who comes to visit. This is a grown adult human, a man. Tell him to leave or we will.

Me: No, you won’t. He already knows you are disturbed by his presence. He is just here to do his job.

Stella: Which is?

Me: He is here to see how much damage was done to our house in last week’s storm and to arrange for the money to pay for it to be repaired. It’s called ‘insurance’.

Stella: Another likely human story. I think he is here to spy on us.

Me: Why would he spy on us? Aren’t you always saying how boring we are?

Stella: Maybe he is more bored than we are. Insurance. The sounds boring in and of itself.

Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Queen for a Day – Conversations with Stella and Tiger

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Tiger: And I should be.

Stella: Hush your mouth!

Me: Hold on, girls! Stella, let’s be especially nice to Tiger. Today is her 5th birthday.

Stella: So what! Baloney! Why should someone get to be rude just because it’s their birthday?

Me: I’m not saying anyone has an excuse to be rude on their birthday. I’m saying cut her some slack.

Tiger: Thank you, Lady Human.

Me: If you’ve noticed, Tiger, you got a few extra treats today

Tiger: I noticed. They were delicious, but now my stomach feels weird.

Me: Oh, I’m sorry.

Tiger: It’s okay. It’s not your fault. You were trying to be nice to me on my birthday.

Me: What would be a better birthday gift for you?

Tiger: Something I never get and something that won’t upset my tummy.

Stella: Something like being queen for a day?

Tiger: Queen? Me? Yes.

Stella: All right. I hereby declare you are Queen for the Day. Happy Birthday, Tiger.

Tiger: Thank you.

Stella: You are welcome, Your Majesty. Royal privileges expire precisely at midnight tonight. Just so we’re clear.

Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

It’s Hard Being Last on the List – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogs. The world is dark.

Me: No, the world is not dark. Well, except at night. And inside the house.

Stella: Lady Human, are there still a bajillion houses with no electric stuff?

Me: The number is down to around half a bajillion now, maybe even fewer than that.

Stella: So where is our electric stuff?

Me: They’re working on it. I think that storm may have hit around here the hardest.

Stella: Humans are incompetent. Why are they in charge? I could have fixed all this mess right away.

Me: I’d like to see a bulldog in a hard hat on a utility truck, replacing a downed power line or blown transformer or getting tree limbs moved. Hey, can you get the oak tree off our house?

Stella: No. I already tried. It wouldn’t cooperate. It just lays there. Now I am sad.

Me: Don’t worry. Things will get back to normal…eventually. We’re still here, aren’t we? I believe this may actually end up being good for us.

Stella: How can it be good to not be able to see hardly anything?

Me: Use your magnificent nose.

Stella: What’s good about not having our cold air boxes?

Me: You got me there. Oh, I know! It’s so much quieter in the house.

Stella: The dark, dark house. Why are we so far down on the list?

Me: There is just a lot more damage around here to repair. Sorry, girl.

Stella: Well, next time, I’m making the list!

Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Why Is It So Dark in the Daytime? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am still freaked out since the loud wind nonsense. I figure some silly humans caused that.

Me: You attribute to us more power than we have.

Stella: Speaking of power…

Me: They’re working on it. Over 300,000 people in this area have been without electricity since the storm. They’ve whittled that number down to around 200,000.

Stella: How many is that?

Me: Think of all the humans, bulldogs, and animals you have ever seen.

Stella: Okay.

Me: It’s way more than that.

Stella: Wow. But why is it so dark in the daytime?

Me: Like I said, we don’t have ekectric power right now. I am very grateful that the temperature was so much cooler than normal today.

Stella: What do you mean we have no electric stuff. Flip one of those things on the wall like you always do. Tada! Light! Even I know that.

Me: The switch on the wall has no power without the flow of electricity.

Stella: Now you’re just not making any sense at all, Lady Human. Flip the switch thingey. Boom. Light. Humans are so lazy.

Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

What the Freak Just Happened – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and I am freaked out! What just happened?

Me: The biggest, fiercest wind storm I’ve ever seen in person and that includes a couple of hurricanes.

Stella: I can’t see out the backdoor. Lady Human, there is a tree in our patio.

Me: Yeah. The oak tree has been uprooted. The branches are blocking the door. The trunk is leaning against the house.

Tiger: I refuse to share the house with an oak tree.

Me: That tree is 38 or 39 years old. I can’t believe it’s fallen.

Miss Sweetie: Maybe it gave up because Doodlebug is always watering it.

Doodlebug: I like that tree.

Wiggles: Will we ever be able to go out the backdoor again?

Me: Sure. Chainsaws will clear it. I already checked the fence. It appears to be undamaged.

Stella: Now I am sad. The big tree fell. Where will the squirrels live?

Me: Stella, are you really worried about squirrels? I thought they were your nemeses.

Stella: Yes, but that doesn’t mean I wanted their home torn down.

Miss Sweetie: I think Doodle should not water anymore trees.

Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

More Human Weirdness – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Weird humans are waving sticks in the air.

Me:  Those are signs for candidates. There’s an election around here today.

Stella:  Election. I remember! That’s one of those things where you all talk and talk and talk and talk…

Me:  Okay, yes, politics.

Stella:  …and talk and talk and talk…

Me:  All right, I get it. Boring to bulldogs.

Stella:  You pay all your attention to some invisible nonsense and ignore us. Of course, that’s boring. And here you are, doing it again? Don’t you get tired of it?

Me:  Well, there are different elections for different things. This particular election is local.

Stella:  So, they are electing a queen?

Me:  No, queens aren’t generally elected.

Stella:  Wonderful news! I wouldn’t want to have to go through something like that with people waving sticks at me.









Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




You Lazy Dog! – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I found you, Lady Human! How dare you!

Me:  Oh, Stella, how dare I what?

Stella:  Sneak into your room and take a nap! You lazy dog!

Me:   I’m not a dog and, if I’m lazy for taking a nap, what does that make you all? You all nap all the time.

Stella:  But you are Lady Human. You aren’t supposed to take naps.

Me:  Don’t you think I get tired during the day sometimes?

Stella:  No, why would you? You never do anything.








Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Shut Up, Weird Bed! – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Hey, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Pick a spot and get in it. It’s settle down time.

Stella:  I am Stella…

Me:  I know.

Stella:  Queen of the Olde…

Me:  I get that.

Stella:  …English Bulldogges. No, not there. No, that’s wrong.

Me:  Stella, what’s wrong with just laying down on your own bed.

Stella:  It’s weird.

Me:  It’s the same as it always is.

Stella:  Nope. It’s weird. Don’t you hear it?

Me:  It creaked a little, that’s all.

Stella:  It’s too loud. Nobody can sleep on a loud, weird bed.

Me:  Go ahead and lay down on my bed. That’s where you’re going to end up anyway.

Stella:  Oh, okay. Wait. What was that noise?

Me:  I knocked into it with my knee.

Stella:  Now your bed is loud and weird! This is a nightmare!

Me:  Stella, calm down and chill out.

Stella:  The beds are weird. And I suddenly feel very…tired. So, I’ll flop down here. Keep the noise down, beds.

Me:  Good night, Stella.

Stella:  Good iii… (snore).






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Doodle-Barker – Conversations with Stella and Doodlebug


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English…

Doodlebug:  Ruff ruff ruff wow wow ruuh ruuh ruuh!


Stella:  …Bulldogges. Never interrupt the queen! How rude!

Me: Doodle, what’s going on with all the barking? Hungry?

Doodlebug:  Yep.

Stella:  Bored?

Doodlebug:  Yep.

Me:  Okay. Food and exercise.

Doodlebug:  Yay.

Me:  Oh, and while I’m thinking of it, ear cleaning.

Doodlebug:  Uh, nope. Never mind. Barking over and done. Starting a nap. Ears tucked and down. Good night.








Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





My Big Head – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. My bulldog head is bigger than some dogs’ entire bodies. It is a wonderful thing to behold.

Me:  Sounds like you have a big head. Hah!

Stella:  I just said that.

Me:  Well, I meant…never mind.

Stella:  No, go ahead, Lady Human, don’t never mind me.

Me:  Humans mean something different by big head. If somebody has a big head, they think highly of themselves, too highly.

Stella:  Exactly. I have a great big head.

Me:  We mean it like when somebody is all puffed up about themselves.

Stella:  That’s me. Big puffed up head. I can’t fit it through hardly anything, but I can knock a bunch of stuff aside with it.

Me:  But we aren’t talking about the size of someone’s head. We’re talking about their attitude about themselves.

Stella:  I’d like to meet some of these big-headed humans. They sound like my type of folks.








Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.