This Is Not a Buffet – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What’s in the big bag?

Wiggles:  It’s food. Some kind of food.

Doodlebug:  Over here! Put it over here!

Miss Sweetie:  What else do you have, Lady Human? I could use something with cheese on it.

Me:  This is not a buffet, y’all. And what I have here is chicken feed and no, you are not eating chicken feed.

Miss Sweetie:  Then who is going to eat it?

Me:  The chickens, honey.

Doodlebug:  Doesn’t sound fair to me.

Stella:  I think it is. All we have to do to get the chickens’ food is ask for it. They will kick it out to us. They love us. And our big bulldog heads scare them.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Somebody Had to Stand Watch – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  What are you doing, girl? Do you want to go outside?

Stella:  Go outside? Noooooo! I’ll just stand here, looking out this clear door. By the way, you may want to clean this sometime. Somebody smeared paw mud on it.

Me:  Yeah, I’ll get around to it one day. Why are you staring out there?

Stella:  Somebody has to stand watch.

Me:  I guess that’s so, but what are you watching for?

Stella:  Danger.

Me:  Danger like what?

Stella:  The worst kind – possums and squirrels.

Me:  I would have added skunks to that list. They make quite an impression if they get startled. You’re not going to stay there all night, are you?

Stella:  Are you going to take over?

Me:  Me? No, I was planning on getting a good night’s sleep.

Stella:  Typical human. Well, somebody has to stand watch. Hey, Wiggles! Come over here! I’m going to bed.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved. 

Happy Birthday, Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Happy Birthday, kids!

Miss Sweetie:  It’s our birthday?

Doodlebug:  We had a birthday?

Me:  Everybody does. Yeah, five years ago today.

Wiggles:  How do you know it was today?

Me:  I think I saw it on a piece of paper one time.

Doodlebug:  You think, but you don’t know.

Me:  Hey, we’re celebrating your birthday. What does it matter?

Miss Sweetie:  It doesn’t matter, if there are treats involved. If there aren’t treats, we’ll wait for another day.

Me:  Well, I’m going to sing the Happy Birthday song…twice.

Doodlebug:  Singing a song is not as good as a treat. Skip the song. I’ll take the treats.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

My Bed! No Sharing! – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Back off, Wiggles!

Wiggles:  How come? This is my corner, too.

Me:  What is going on now?

Stella:  This is my palace and Wiggles keeps going in it like it’s hers. She has her own place.

Me:  Does this have something to do with the beds being moved around the other day?

Stella:  Yes. No. Maybe.

Wiggles:  Tiger slept in this corner. It smells like her. It reminds me of her.

Me: You and Tiger didn’t get along that well.

Wiggles:  But now I miss her. And now Stella has her day bed in Tiger’s corner.

Me:  Compromise settlement proposal.

Stella:  Is that something good to eat?

Wiggles:  Does it taste like chicken?

Me:  No.

Stella:  Aw.

Wiggles:  Aw.

Me:  Stella keeps her bed where it is. Wiggles, you can nap next to her. Then, at night, you can use her day bed.

Wiggles:  Hmmmm…

Me:  May I point out to all parties involved that you, Wiggles, have your own bed, the spot behind my chair, and your special blanketed box under the table? I understand that none of you likes change and this has been a hard one that no one wanted. Get along with each other, okay? Agreed?

Wiggles:  Agreed.

Stella:  Agreed, so long as you throw in something that tastes like chicken.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

By the Dawn’s Early Light – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What are you staring at, Lady Human?

Me:  The dawn.

Stella:  That was Tiger’s favorite time of day.

Me:  Yep. I never understood why. She could have been sleeping like the rest of you.

Stella:  I think she enjoyed spending that time with you without the pack hanging around. Just you and her.

Me:  I wish I had enjoyed it more at the time.

Stella:  You are enjoying it now.

Me:  Yes, with you. But Tiger is…

Stella:  Tiger is enjoying it with us now, too, right where she is.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Tiger, oh Tiger! So Long and Thanks for Everything

I don’t know where to begin. Tiger passed away this morning. She came to us over five years ago, almost dead from a serious fight with a kennel mate at her previous home. We didn’t know her whole story, but we pieced together enough to know that her beginning was a little rough.

The vets did not expect her to live after that fight. They said that, if she did, she would always walk with a limp. She lived. She did not limp. In fact, one of her favorite games was catching the water spray out of the garden hose by jumping straight up in the air for it.

Because of her past, Tiger was always a handful and a half around other dogs. Vet visits proved to be an adventure in and of themselves. She hated vet offices. HATED. Not disliked, not “I would prefer not to’. HATED. When we would leave the vet’s office, she would try to get in the first vehicle she saw, no matter that it wasn’t ours.

 She was good with people except that fear dominated her reactions to strangers. As for dogs, I had to watch her like a hawk. Any eye-to-eye contact sparked a fight.

Would I have chosen a dog like Tiger? No, I was too hard-hearted. I like the easy button on everything. Extra work? A challenge? Not me. And the LORD knew that and over the years, He used Tiger to soften and expand my heart. And He used the difficulties to make me ‘bulldoggy’.

Tiger was perpetually wound up like an eight-day clock. She never seemed to be able to relax, always jumping up, always on the look out for trouble.

 Now she is resting, and she will never be afraid again.

Are Humans Smart? Really? – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Where did I put that…oh, there it is.

Tiger:  Pssst! Stella! Why is Lady Human always saying stuff like that? She sounds kind of stupid.

Doodlebug:  Nobody is smarter than me.

Wiggles:  Does she know what she’s doing? Because if she doesn’t, I can take over.

Tiger:  No! Me!

Stella:  I am the Queen! I am in charge here!

Me:  What are y’all fussing about?

Miss Sweetie:  Oh, oh, let me ask her! Ma’am, are you stupid?

Me:  Huh? What?

Stella:  Are you smart, Lady Human?

Me:  Uh…well…

Stella:  That’s fine. Don’t strain yourself. We have our answer.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Toenail Victory Day – Conversations with Stella and Tiger

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Okay, Tiger, let’s go someplace quiet and secluded and get this job done.

Stella:  I’ll stay back here as will every other sane bulldog.

Me:  That’s fine. This is me time with Tiger.

Stella:  Well, all the best with that, Lady Human.

Tiger:  Where are we going? Huh? Huh? Huh? Will there be treats?

Me:  Maybe one.

Tiger:  Wait! Why is the weird hand thingy here?

Me:  This won’t take long if you cooperate with me.

Tiger:  Cooperate? Why are you holding my foot? No! Let go!

Me:  Good girl! Good girl, Tiger!

Tiger:  No! You only say that when you want me to do something that I don’t want to do!

Me:  Good girl!

Tiger:  But I do like it when you rub my tummy. And blow in my face. And call me sweet names. And hug my neck. And rub my head. And tell me everything is all right…

Me:  There! All done! Still not the easiest job in town, but…

Tiger:  What? All done?

Me:  Yup.

Tiger:  My feet feel…shorter. Can I still scratch?

Me:  Sure.

Tiger:  Can I dig if I want to?

Me:  Yeah, buy why?

Tiger:  This wasn’t so bad.

Me:  I feel like we have made a major step forward. Like a big victory. And next time will be even easier, right?

Tiger:  Next time? Easier? Oh, no, I can’t betray my bulldogs by making things easier.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Last Days of the Cicadas – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, it is quiet. Too quiet.

Me:  You’re right. It’s like nothing is moving.

Stella:  Something is missing.

Me:  Yeah…the cicadas…the insects we call locusts. They have fallen silent.

Stella:  They were so loud.

Me:  Fall is coming. The heat is ebbing. Their days are ending.

Stella:  This happened before.

Me:  Yes, it happens this time every year. I saw one flying today. So strange to think that it was laid as an egg either 14 or 17 years ago, depending on its variety, and it only hatched out this summer.

Stella:  And now its days are closing. That is a long time to wait for so few days. Will we see and hear them next summer?

Me:  Yes, probably.

Stella:  Goodbye, cicadas. We will wait to hear your song again.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Dragging – Conversations with Stella

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

Me:  Dragging. That’s about all now.

Stella:  Why do you get to drag? That’s what we do.

Me:  I think what did it was moving 100 pounds of dog food into the garage and getting it packed safely away. That used to seem easier. Now it’s just draining.

Stella:  Sounds easy to me. Why do all that work? Just let us at it. You won’t have to move a thing. We’ll handle the whole thing for you.

Me:  Even you all couldn’t handle 100 pounds of food in a day. You would just be bloated balls of roly poly and there would still be food leftover.

Stella:  So what’s the problem?

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Dawn Patrol – Conversations with Stella and Tiger

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, go back to sleep.

Me:  Would love to, but Tiger is up and calling for breakfast.

Stella:  It’s dark. Too dark for breakfast.

Me:  Yeah, I know. But she’s up and she’s not gonna quit until she gets breakfast. All right, Tiger, all right. I’m getting your food.

Tiger:  Hungry. And potty. Don’t forget that.

Me:  Everybody else in the house is asleep. Look outside. It is dark.

Tiger:  Not for long. Don’t you feel it?

Me:  What? Sleepiness?

Tiger:  The light in the sky. It’s coming. We will greet it.

Me:  Can we start greeting it when it’s higher in the sky?

Tiger:  This is the special time.

Me:  The sky is lightening.

Tiger:  What do humans call this time?

Me:  Dawn.

Tiger:  Dawn. A pretty time. Like no other time of day…Okay, that’s over. Let’s go back to bed.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Making Bulldog History – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Stella, girl, move over. You’re in my spot and you’re on my blanket.

Stella:  You got up and left. What else would I do?

Me:  I had to let Tiger go outside. Now just scooch over so I can go back to sleep.

Stella:  I am fine where I am.

Me:  Well, I’m not fine where I am. Move over. Uh, Stella, you’re like a boulder.

Stella:  And you can’t move me unless I want to be moved.

Me:  I wouldn’t bet money on that. It’s just easier if you cooperate. Oh, never mind. I’ll just squeeze in here.

Stella: You’re giving up?

Me:  Yep.

Stella:  That’s wonderful! Lady Human surrenders to a bulldog. Another great moment in bulldog history.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, I have been worrying about something. Is our fence strong enough?

Me:  If you’re worried about the coyotes, our fence should be enough. People say they can scale a six-foot fence. Ours is eight feet.

Stella:  Who cares what people say? Has anyone asked a coyote? But I am not talking about coyotes. I’m worried about possums.

Me:  Possums are a bigger problem than a coyote pack?

Stella:  Now you understand. Are we possum proof?

Me:  Uh, well, no.

Stella:  So our fence is strong enough to keep coyote out but not strong enough to keep possums out.

Me:  The strength is not the issue. Possums can climb over the fence.

Stella:  Then stop them.

Me:  The only way to stop them would be to cover the whole yard with a barrier. We’re probably not going to do that just to uninvite a few possums.

Stella:  Then do the next best thing. Do what the humans do. Put up a big sign that says, “NO TRESPASSING BY POSSUMS ALLOWED”.

Me:  Can possums read?

Stella:  Not my problem. I just make the suggestions. You teach the possums to read.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Yip! Yip! Yip! Coyotes! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. There is a weird noise on the air. It sounds like dogs a long way off. Their voices are high and excited. Are they friends of ours?

Me:  I’m going to venture a good guess and say no.

Stella:  Why not? We are so lovable.

Me:  That noise is not from dogs. It’s from a cousin of yours. Coyotes.

Stella:  They sound interesting.

Me:  Until you meet them face to face. Coyotes are wild. Do you remember a few years ago when we went camping way, way out from all houses and buildings and people?

Stella:  The little cloth house. And eating outside like animals. And the cold air. And you and me snuggling in the blanket with the zipper.

Me:  And the coyotes yipping and howling in the hills.

Stella:  And you couldn’t let me go out by myself. And you had that big knife beside you, and it was not for cutting up food. Okay, I am getting a picture and it is not a nice one. I think I will stay inside tonight.


Copyright 2020 H J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Wipe Your Paws – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Look! Now we can see every step I have taken. Cool!

Me:  Not cool! Muddy!

Miss Sweetie:  Cool! Mud! Look! My footsies make way bigger mud splats than yours do, Aunt Stella!

Wiggles:  Yeah, but there are way more of my mud prints because I am such a fast dancer.

Doodlebug:  Is this the same as a mud bath?

Me:  No, but it could become that really quick.

Tiger:  I’m not getting my paws muddy. I refuse to go outside.

Me:  Not an option, girl.

Tiger:  Oh, right. When are we getting our indoor toilet?

Stella:  How did this happen? It was hot…

Me:  103 degrees…

Stella:  And this morning it was…well…not hot.

Me:  73 degrees. A thirty degree drop but not even close to a record.

Stella:  But where did the water come from? And how come the ground is so squishy?

Me:  Rain plus dirt equals mud.

Stella:  And mud plus paws equals squish.

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Why Do You Get Crackers for Lunch? – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. There is a gross injustice here.

Me:  Oh, boy, what now?

Stella:  You were seen eating crackers at lunch.

Me:  Yes, and…

Stella:  I never get crackers at lunch.

Me:  No, you get lunch at lunch.

Stella:  But I get crackers at bedtime.

Me:  That’s a little bedtime snack.

Stella:  Why do you get crackers at lunch?

Me:  They are a little side dish. They aren’t my whole lunch.

Stella:  I want a little side dish, too.

Me:  You get your in and out treats.

Stella:  Here’s a deal. You share your crackers with me at lunch and I’ll share my treats with you. Fair, huh?

Me:  I haven’t developed a taste for your treats, so I’ll turn that offer down.

Stella:  Awww. And I am stuck with regular food and treats and bedtime crackers and no side dishes for lunch. Like I said…a gross injustice.









Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.