BULLDOGGERY – CONVERSATIONS WITH THE PACK

I am Doodlebug, King of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Okay, settle down time. Come on, boy. Come on, Sweetie.

Doodlebug:  Nope. I’m fine right here.

Me:  No, you’re not.

Sweetie:  We just doing us, Lady Human.

Me:  You’re doing bulldoggery, which is ten times worse than being bulldoggy. Now come on in the other room.

Sweetie:  I think not. What are you doing now?

Me:  I’m trying to pick you up. It’s like wrestling an 80-pound concrete block.

Sweetie:  Cool!

Doodlebug:  Try to pick me up, Lady Human.

Me:  No, you’re a 75-pound rock. What’s going on?

MoonCat:  We are doing the bulldog thing.

Me:  You, too?

MoonCat:  Yep. Pack member. I have to start sometime.

Me:  Well, I guess I’ll just have to take these cheese crackers with me then…

Doodlebug:  What? Crackers? Wait for me!

Sweetie:  Crackers? Why didn’t you say so? Crackers change everything.

Doodlebug:  Okay, everybody. Bulldoggery is cancelled…well, postponed at least.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Pack of Four – Conversations with Doodlebug, Sweetie and MoonCat

I am Doodlebug, King of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Sweetie: What do you mean “king”? I don’t remember voting for you.

Doodlebug: No vote necessary. Facts are facts. I’m in charge of the pack which is everybody.

Me: Uh, beg to differ. Number one – I am in charge. Number two – I am not a bulldog, thus not a pack member.

Sweetie:  Awww, Lady Human, you are one of us even though you are not nearly as good-looking as we are, but you can’t help that, I know.

MoonCat: Meow. Me, too. Pack member.

Doodlebug: Yes, even though you are not now and never will be a true bulldog, join in.

Sweetie:  This is getting out of control. What next? Chickens? Monster lizards? Bugs?

Doodlebug:  Chickens…I dunno…maybe, but I definitely draw the pack membership line at bugs. They don’t listen to instructions, and they try to take over everything.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Flying Stella

     I have dreaded writing this post for a whole month. No, I have dreaded it longer than that, maybe for years.

     Stella passed away one month ago today. She went fast, quietly, in her sleep. Her legs were relaxed.

 Had she been standing, they would have been in a running position, the way they always looked when she would chase a squirrel.

     Later that day, I came across a cartoonish sketch I had made of her years ago in the same running pose. The caption read, “Flying Stella: I can’t feel my feet touching the ground.” And I realized that had become for her quite literally true. Fly, girl, fly. See you later.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill. All Rights Reserved.

MONSTER! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. LADY HUMAN!

Me: What’s wrong?

Stella: It’s HORRIBLE! No, no, calm down, Lady Human!

Me: I’m not the one who needs calming down, girl. What’s the matter?

Stella: THAT! Shhh! Don’t let it hear you! It’s a MONSTER!!!

Me: Oh, it’s all right. That a Texas Spiny Lizard. She lives in the yard, has for quite a few months now. I call her Little Buddy. She eats bugs…

Stella: You’ve been letting a monster live here? Have you lost your mind?

Me: She may look like a dinosaur, but she won’t get any bigger than a foot long and she won’t hurt any of us. We aren’t bugs.

Stella: Speak for yourself! How do you know she won’t take one look at me and think ‘Oh, there’s a big fat bug for my supper. Let me take a chunk out of that.’ Hmmm?

Me: Well, for one thing, she’s already run off. Now, if she were 10 feet long and peaking over the fence, we might have cause for concern, but Little Buddy will never get anywhere near that big…

Stella: Lady Human, stop giving pet names to monsters! Unless that name is MONSTER!

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

HAPPY 9th BIRTHDAY, STELLA!

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me: Happy Birthday, girl! You are 9 years old today!

Stella: Does that mean I can drive a car?

Me: No. That’s not ever going to happen, no matter how old you are.

Stella: Unfair. I watched you the other day. It’s not so hard. Now that I’m 9, can I pick out my own food?

Me: No, I think we should stick with the healthy stuff you already eat.

Stella: So what good is it being 9 years old?

Me: Well, humans like to think that we are a year wiser.

Stella: Lady Human, you know as well as I do that humans are silly creatures who think all sorts of crazy things. Wiser? Where’s the evidence?

Now, let’s get down to birthday business and talk seriously about cheese and peanut butter crackers.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Pondering – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human is being quiet. Too quiet. Swat a fly! Tell us to “cut it out!” Say something!

Me: Sorry, girl. I was just thinking about someone I used to know.

Stella: A human? Do I know them?

Me: No, he went away long before you came. I learned last night that he has passed away and he was a young man. I’m pondering.

Stella: Passed away like Wiggles passed away?

Me: Yeah.

Stella: Are you sad? You feel to me as though you are.

Me: Yeah, a little. Mainly over missed opportunities. It had been so long since I saw him or spoke with him and I thought my feelings now are silly at this point and don’t really matter. But I was reading about grief last night from a book by C.S. Lewis. He said, “Whatever is matters.” It helped me.

Stella: C.S. Lewis…was he a bulldog? He sounds like one.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

No Sunbathing Today – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges and even I know it is not a day for sunbathing.

Miss Sweetie: But I want to.

Doodlebug: I never sunbath. It wastes valuable exploration time.

Me: There’s not going to be any of that either today.

Doodlebug and Sweetie: Awwww!

Me: Y’all, it’s headed for 108° this afternoon. Outdoor activities are curtailed.

MoonCat: I never sunbathe. I lounge indoors. Far more civilized.

Miss Sweetie: But what if my sun goes away?

Me: Not much chance of that happening this week.

Stella: Or ever again.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Pick A Spot! – Conversations with Stella and Miss Sweetie

Me:  Come on, Sweetie.
 
Miss Sweetie: I’m thinking.
 
Stella:  There’s no thinking about it. Go potty! Now!
 
Miss Sweetie:  That’s not it there. That’s not right.
 
Me:  Sweetie, it’s hot out here! Just pick a spot.
 
Miss Sweetie:  I can’t go just anywhere.


 
Me:  You can go anywhere in the yard.
 
Miss Sweetie:  I’ll just save it.
 
Me and Stella:  NOOOO!!!





 
 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Save Your Breath – Conversations with Stella

Stella:  Lady Human! Lady Human! You have let it happen again!
 
Me:  Calm down, girl! What have I gone and done now?
 
Stella:  You let it get hot again.
 
Me:  Yeah, that’s just like me. Letting summer come around.
 
Stella:  Make it stop.
 
Me:  It will stop in time. Along about September. Maybe. Calm down. You’re winding yourself up for no reason. You’re panting and it’s just not that hot in here.
 
Stella:  Panting…is…important.
 
Me:  Save your breath. Relax. It’s the best thing to beat the heat.
 
Stella:  I’ve been relaxing my whole bulldog life and I haven’t beat it ‘til yet.
 


 
 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Panting Weather – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, blow on the air and make it cooler.

Me: That is not one of my gifts, girl.

Stella: Turn on the twirling thing then.

Me: It is on.

Stella: Don’t try to fool me. It is not going as fast as it can.

Me: Oh, all right. One more notch up. But don’t try to steal the covers if you chill down in the wee hours of the morning.

Stella: Wee hours? Is that why I have to get up to go outside and potty in the dark? Why didn’t you just tell me they were called that? That solves the mystery.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Not Open to the Public – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Old English Bulldogges.
 
Doodlebug:  What’s in your bowl?


 
Stella:  The same thing that’s in your bowl.
 
Miss Sweetie:  Can I stick my face in?


 
Me:  Nope. No food snooping. No food spying.
 
Stella:  That’s right. My food bowl is not open to the public. Can’t you see? The door is shut.
 
Doodlebug:  No fair. We can see it. We can smell it. We can’t touch it.
 
Miss Sweetie:  We are locked out of Stella’s food. Awwww.
 
Me:  What would happen if I left Stella’s food bowl out for you to eat out of?
 
Doodlebug:  I would get more to eat so that would be a win.
 
Miss Sweetie:  I would get more to eat so I would get fatter and that would be a win.
 
Me:  Not really.
 
Stella:  There is a reason why we put doors on things and you two are it.







 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Out Like Lottie’s Eye – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Leave me alone, Lady Human. Uhhh…
 
Me:  Come on, girl. You gotta go out before it starts raining.
 
Stella:  No. Just lay here.
 
Me:  Boy, you sure were fast asleep. You were out like Lottie’s eye.
 
Stella:  What? Whose eye? An eye out? My eye? Both my eyes are here!
 
Me:  No, it’s just an old expression. ‘Out like Lottie’s eye’ just means you were so deeply asleep that it was hard to wake you up.
 
Stella: Who is Lottie? Why is her eye out? Can she open it? What’s going on?
 
Me: I don’t know any Lotties and I don’t know how that saying came about.
 
Stella:  Then why say it? Now I’m all worried about Lottie and her eye. And now I’m going to have to watch my eyes even when I’m asleep. Thank you so much, Lady Human, for fouling everything up with your weird old sayings.







 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Bacon Bribery – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What is your scheme, Lady Human?
 
Me:  Scheme? I don’t have any scheme.
 
Miss Sweetie:  I smell bacon. Whatever it is that you want me to do, I will do it, ma’am.

 
Me:  Will you follow me back into the house?
 
Miss Sweetie:  Immediately if there is bacon at the end of the journey.
 
Me:  How about you, Doodlebug?

 
Doodlebug:  Absolutely and immediately.
 
Stella:  Disgusting. Doesn’t anyone have a backbone anymore?
 
Me:  Stella, will you come back in for a piece of bacon?
 
Stella:  Of course! What do I look like? An idiot?







 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Too Quiet – Conversations with Stella

 
I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human is strange. She has been too quiet. I don’t like weird stuff. Or change. Or boots sitting in the middle of the floor. Or…
 
Me:  Or a whole lot of things that don’t fit your bulldoggy view of the world.
 
Stella:  Exactly. So what is wrong with you, Lady Human?
 
Me:  Just been doing a lot of thinking. And remembering.
 
Stella: Have you been that way because Wiggles passed to the Great Creator?
 
Me:  Yes, partly, but there is more than that. And how would you all even notice me being quiet?  With all the noise you make around here…
 
Stella:  Hey! Somebody else’s loudness is no excuse for being too quiet. Speak up more! That way we’ll have something to shout down!







 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Full-Time Job – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the … yawn … Olde English … yawn … Bulldogges.

Me:  Are you worn out?

Stella:  I’m just going to take a little nap for maybe all afternoon, maybe until tomorrow.

Me:  Must be nice.

Stella:  It is.

Me: It takes a lot of energy to be you, doesn’t it, girl?

Stella:  Yup.  Being me is a full-time job.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Food Dreaming – Conversations with Stella and MoonCat

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Here I am, trying to enjoy a peaceful meal and the cat is lying uncomfortably close to my bowl, watching every bite I take. Lady Human, make her stop!
 
Me:  MoonCat, you might want to back off a little bit. Go eat your own food, okay.


 
MoonCat:  Meow. What the big ole bulldog is having smells wonderful.
 
Stella:  Lady Human.
 
Me:  Let Stella eat in peace.
 
MoonCat:  I can dream, can’t I?
 
Me:  She is eating dogfood.
 
MoonCat:  I am not particular. I will just wait until she is finished.
 
Me:  She is finished. I am putting up the bowl.
 
Stella:  Thank you, Lady Human. The thought of a cat’s nose in my food bowl is enough to give me nightmares.





 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

One Last Look – Wiggles

It has taken me two full days to get up enough gumption to tackle this and write about it.

At 10:08 a.m. on Friday, March 4, 2022, Wiggles passed from this earth, exactly one week after her 8th birthday.

Wiggles loved the outdoors. She came to us when she was just over a year old. She had been a country dog. The man who owned her decided that he wanted a motorcycle and selling the dog would help him get to his goal faster. My son’s friend put them in contact with each other and my son bought Wiggles. About two weeks later, Wiggles’ previous owner was killed in a one-vehicle accident while riding his new motorcycle.

Everybody liked Wiggles, even non-bulldog people. That was not always true of other dogs. Wiggles never picked a fight, but she never backed off from one either.

She was active and quick. She loved to sunbathe on pleasant days.

Recently, she had started standing for a long time and staring, but I thought nothing of it. There is a lot to stare at outside. Then, on Friday, she suffered a huge seizure. Her whole body was trembling.

I stared into her face. Her eyes were closed. The trembling stopped. She opened her eyes, looked at me, then closed them again, and went. It was so peaceful that it took me a few minutes to realize that she was gone.

“One last look,” as my son put it.

I believe in God, the Creator of all. I also believe in the revelation of heaven and eternity as presented in the Bible. There was a time when I did not think that applied to animals. I know better now. God is not an annihilator. He used the bulldogs to teach to teach me that. (I am a slow learner.)

I also believe that the LORD restores. The next time Wiggles looks at me, we will both be fully restored and there will be no more last looks.

Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Happy 8th Birthday, Wiggles! – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Today is special. I don’t know why.
 
Me:  Today is Wiggles 8th birthday! Happy Birthday, Wiggles!
 
Wiggles:  I’m not sure what that means.


 
Stella:  Well, one thing it does not mean is cake. We will not be having cake today. This is a cake-free zone.
 
Me:  It means that you were born eight years ago today.
 
Wiggles:  I’m not sure what that means either.
 
Me:  Well, your mom gave birth to you eight years ago.
 
Wiggles: What is a year?
 
Me:  It’s a way humans have of counting time.
 
Wiggles:  Was eight years a long time ago?
 
Me:  For some purposes.
 
Wiggles:  Does this mean that I am old now?
 
Me:  I don’t think of you that way. I still think of you as you were when you first came. You were a little over a year old then.
 
Wiggles:  A lot has happened since then.
 
Stella:  I’ll tell you one thing that hasn’t happened. Cake. Cake doesn’t happen around here.




 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Gagging and…Yuck! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, why are you gagging and making yuck noises? You really do sound like a bulldog today.
 
Me:  Ugh, I ate the wrong thing or didn’t eat the right thing. I don’t even know.
 
Stella:  That’s because you eat strange stuff out of that cold box. Why don’t you eat the food you give us? It’s easy. It comes in a big bag and out of a big can. There’s a lot of it. We will share with you. Maybe. Once in a while.
 
Me:  But that food is for dogs. Humans have different food needs.
 
Stella:  So you mean that pie, and those potato chips, and that dark drink that you won’t let us even taste, and that stuff that came in the big red box shaped like a heart, and…
 
Me:  Okay. Okay.
 
Stella:  Hey, I understand. I have chewed on a few things in my life that made me gag, too.





 
Copyright 2022  H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

I Am More Bulldoggy Than You – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.  Lady Human, scooch over. You’re crowding my space.
 
Me:  Nope.
 
Stella:  Uh, yep.
 
Me:  Nope. I’m in my spot to stay.
 
Stella:  Hey, who’s the bulldog here?
 
Me:  Today that would be me.
 
Stella:  No way! I am more bulldoggy than you.
 
Me:  No, I am more bulldoggy than you.
 
Stella:  No, I am!
 
Me:  No, I am!
 
Stella:  You’re not even a real bulldog!
 
Me:  How do you know?
 
Stella:  Hello! Look in a mirror!
 
Me: Let’s see. I am ignoring your demands. I am refusing to move or give up space. I am lounging in bed. I am arguing with you. Sounds like…yep…I am more bulldoggy than you.
 
Stella:  Hey, it’s time to get up and feed us.
 
Me:  Oh, yeah, Okay.
 
Stella:  Seems pretty clear to me who won that argument.





 
Copyright 2022 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.