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

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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

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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.

The Exploding Sky – Conversations with Stella

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I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am so sorry, Lady Human. It is all my fault.

Me:  What’s all your fault?

Stella:  The sky exploded. I caused it. If I had to do it over again, I would have held my sneeze in and exploded my own head. But now…

Me:  It’s all right, Stella.

Stella:  How can it be alright if the sky is gone? I shouldn’t have sneezed. I shouldn’t have sneezed. I shouldn’t have sneezed.

Me:  The sky is not gone. You just happened to sneeze and then there was a big thunderclap. Look outside. The sky is still there. We are living through a big thunderstorm. That’s all.

Stella:  So my nose did not explode anything?

Me:  Nope.

Stella:  That is a huge relief. I didn’t know how I was going to apologize to the Great Creator for blowing up His sky.

Me:  He requires no apology from you for sneezing.

Stella:  Whew! And you are sure that I did not cause that big thunder boom.

Me:  Yup. Pretty sure.

Stella:  Pretty sure?  Is that all? I am going to have to be more careful about my big old bulldog nose letting off pressure in the future. You never know what I might start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

This Is Not Normal – Conversations with Stella

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I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  I have to tell you. I didn’t get to the store today to buy our special crackers, so…

Stella:  What? There are no crackers for tonight? Horrible! Terrible! Not to be tolerated!

Me:  Well, you’re going to have to tolerate it. Besides, I have an alternative. Try this.

Stella:  Smells like peanut butter. Looks like two cheese crackers with peanut butter sticking them together. Did a human invent this?

Me:  Yes, as with most unnatural things on this earth. A clever person decided that cheese crackers go neatly with peanut butter.

Stella:  This is not normal. Beep… beep… beep… alarm…alarm…alarm…

Me:  Okay. That’s all right. You don’t have to…

Stella:  Hold up there, Lady Human! Did I say ‘no’? I am a bulldog. Bulldog is the very definition of not normal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Lip Curl – Conversations with Stella

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

Me:  What’s ewww now?

Stella:  That thing in your hand. Get rid of it, Lady Human! It’s wicked!

Me:  It’s a lime. There’s nothing wicked about it.

Stella:  Eeeeee! I can’t control my mouth. My lip. It’s curling up. I can’t stop it! It is all the fault…of…that…thing…

Me:  Okay. Okay. Just go in the other room until I finish cooking. And to avoid this in the future, don’t get so close to my food.

Stella:  This is terrible. What if my lip doesn’t go back into place? What if it’s frozen? I will always look like I am snarling.

Me:  Wait a second. Let me look. See. It’s already back to normal.

Stella:  Horrible. How can humans eat such things?

Me:  We enjoy lots of different flavors.

Stella:  Please keep those flavors to yourself. You have just ruined my appetite for the next…oh, half a minute or so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Cat Water Sampler – Conversations with Stella, Wiggles, and MoonCat

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I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

MoonCat:  Meow!

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Stella:  Lady Human! The cat’s complaining! Again!

Me:  What’s wrong, Moon? Oh, dry water bowl? How did that happen? I just filled it.

MoonCat:  Meow!

Stella:  Just tell her.

MoonCat:  Big mouth bulldog drank it all.

Me:  Which big mouth bulldog?

Stella:  I know! I know! And it wasn’t me.

Me:  Wiggles?

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Wiggles:  Hmmm?

Me:  What are you doing drinking the cat’s water?

Wiggles:  It was there. It smelled funny. You know…like a cat. I thought it might taste better than mine. So…

Stella:  You have embarrassed yourself among all bulldogs everywhere. How will you ever get the taste of cat water out of your mouth?

Wiggles:  I already did. I drank out of your bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Attention! – Conversations with Stella

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

Me:  Yep.

Stella:  Pet me.

Me:  Okay.

Stella:  Pet me again.

Me:  Okay.

Stella:  Scratch me.

Me:  Okay.

Stella:  Scratch me again.

Me:  Okay.

Stella:  Lady Human.

Me:  Hmmm?

Stella:  Attention! Attention! Attention!

Me:  Whoa! I’m still here.

Stella:  Then why do I have to keep asking?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Bulldog Masks – Conversations with Stella and Miss Sweetie

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I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, take that thing off your face. You look ridiculous.

Me:  You’ve seen me with a mask on before.

Stella:  That doesn’t make you look any less ridiculous.

Miss Sweetie:  Look at me! Look at me, Lady Human! I have a mask on! Do I look ridiculous, too? Please say I do!

Me:  Oh, Sweetie, you do look funny!

Stella:  Sweetie! Take that food bowl off your face!

Miss Sweetie:  It’s a mask. Now I can go around with Lady Human.

Me:  Aluminum bowls don’t really work as face masks, though you would attract a lot of attention. Especially every time it fell off.

Miss Sweetie:  You can wear one, too, Lady Human. You can use my water bowl.

Me:  Thanks. I’ll stick with the cloth one.

Miss Sweetie:  Wee! Food bowl masks! The humans should try this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Bulldog Gardening – Conversations with Stella, Doodlebug, and Miss Sweetie

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I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The little trees are shaking, Lady Human. They are shaking because they are afraid.

Me:  They are shaking because Doodlebug and Sweetie have got them in the grip of their bulldog teeth and are tugging their little branches off. Hey, y’all, what’s going on here?

Doodlebug:  They were in our way, but they aren’t in our way anymore.

Miss Sweetie:  And the leaves on this one taste good.

Me:  Enough is enough. If there is tree trimming to be done, the humans will do it.

Stella:  But these little trees grew across the path and I didn’t see you or Tall Man ever…

Me:  Thank you for your assistance, but we would have gotten around to it.

Miss Sweetie:  No problem, Lady Human, we don’t mind. It gives us another thing to munch on.

Doodlebug:  Yeah, and we are even better than those loud, buzz machines you humans are always using to disturb our peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Hot Diggity Dog! – Conversations with Stella

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I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Wow! What happened?

Me:  A cold front. Those thunderstorms last night brought cooler air with them. It was 106 degrees and about an hour later, it was down to 75.

Stella:  Can you do that again?

Me:  Since I didn’t do it, I doubt it.

Stella:  It has been so hot! For a million years.

Me:  Well, despite what you think, I have not been around for a million years, so…

Stella:  Now it is all nice and cool.

Me: Yes, it is a nice, cool 93 degrees.

Stella:  You probably didn’t notice, Lady Human, but for this last week or so, I didn’t want to do anything. So, in the way of bulldogs, I didn’t.

Me:  It’s hard to get motivated in the heat. Once you get out in it, it’s okay, but you never stop thinking about the air conditioning.

Stella:  And ice.

Me:  And cool, wet scarves.

Stella:  And ice.

Me:  And rubbing alcohol.

Stella:  And… wait…that stinky, smelly stuff you wipe on your arms…NOOOOO! Keep it away! Keep it away!

Me:  I don’t use it on you. It helps me cool down.

Stella: And you can keep it all to yourself. Wait again. Are you going to use it today? Do I have to hide my precious little bulldog nose?

Me:  No, I probably won’t bring it out today. It’s cooled down enough.

Stella:  Whew! That’s a relief! Next time, you need to cool down, I have a whole supply of non-stinky drool for that.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Bulldog Backtalk – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

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I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  How is everyone this evening?

Tiger:  GrrrrRRRR!

Me:  All right. There’s that. How about you, Wiggles?

Wiggles:  Hmmmpphh.

Me:  Wonderful.

Doodlebug:  Bad mood. Better not say anything.

Miss Sweetie:  Shine on, shine on, harvest moon, up in the sky…

Me:  Well, somebody’s in a good mood.

Miss Sweetie:  Hush!

Me:  Whoa!

Stella:  We all heard the little human tell you to…and I quote…’Shut up!’ Bulldogs aren’t better than humans. Now everyone wants to backtalk. Why did she say that?  Were you barking at her?

Me:  No. She has heard it among some of her less than mature human acquaintances. I guess she decided to try it out on me.

Stella:  How rude!

Me:  Funny, she was saying that about y’all barking earlier. She used that very word.

Stella:  I like her! She is like a bulldog. I can work with that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2020 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.