Hay Is For Horses – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human repeats herself. A lot.

Me:  Maybe because no one around here listens to me the first three times I say something.

Stella:  Well, you sure talk a lot about hay.

Miss Sweetie:  Hay. The stuff that horses eat. I saw that on the Picture Box. They eat grass but they call it ‘hay’ because they don’t know how to talk right.

Doodlebug:  I don’t eat hay. Sometimes I eat tasty leaves I find out back.

Wiggles:  I eat grass. Is that what Lady Human is talking about when she says ‘hay’?

Me:  No, I mean ‘pay attention’. And the word is HEY, not HAY!

Tiger:  Then why don’t you say so? The humans sound confused.

Me:  It sounds the same. It is spelled differently.

Stella:  So that makes all the confusion all right? I don’t think so. What is this spelling thing anyway? It sounds made up to me.

Miss Sweetie:  I suddenly feel like…RAMPAGE!

Me:  HEY!

Miss Sweetie:  Where?

Doodlebug: I’ll try some.

Wiggles:  How about treats instead? They taste better than grass.


Me:  HEY!

Stella:  No, ma’am, we’ve voted. Treats over hay any day.





Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Dancing in the Water – Conversations with Stella and Miss Sweetie


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, I think you should see what Miss Sweetie is doing.

Me:  What?  Oh, Sweetie! Really?

Miss Sweetie:  What? Who? Where?

Me:  Did you…pee inside? Again?

Miss Sweetie:  Pee? No. Do you want me to? I can if I you want me to.

Me:  No! If you didn’t pee, then what is this water mess? Oh, I see.

Miss Sweetie:  My water bowl spilled. I don’t know how that happened.

Stella:  I do. She stepped on it. And the water went everywhere. And now she is dancing in it.

Miss Sweetie:  I like water. Especially on my feet when it is hot. I dance in the water. Watch me!

Me:  Okay, that’s fine, Sweetie. At least that’s better than…well, you know. The other stuff.

Miss Sweetie:  Pee? Do you want me to do that, too?

Me and Stella:  No!

Stella:  I’m sorry, Lady Human. She still doesn’t understand that there is a real difference.










Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Scratched Notes of Remembrance – Conversations with Stella and Tiger


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. What is all that fancy paper stuff in your hand, Lady Human? What are you doing?

Me:  Oh, I’m writing a note to a friend of our family. A condolence note.

Stella:  Condo lens? Is that something we can eat?

Me:  Not everything is something you can eat. No, a condolence note tells someone that you are sorry that they have suffered a loss. This girl just turned 17 years old last week and the other night, she left her little dog out in their front yard. And the dog…

Tiger:  No. The dog got out of its safe place.

Me:  Yes. And another dog, much bigger they think, started a fight.

Tiger:  And the smaller dog lost. And died.

Me:  Yes. They didn’t find their dog until morning and it was too late. I know you understand such things, Tiger, because…

Tiger:  I got out. And my kennel mate got out. And she was a better fighter than I was.

Stella:  But why are you scratching on paper to the girl human? What difference does that make now?

Me:  Someone needs to tell her that another person shares her sorrow. Someone needs to tell her that she is sorrowful for a reason, that her sorrow does matter to God and to others because…

Stella:  Her dog made a difference to her.

Me:  Yes. Her Chihuahua was not, as some people say, ‘just a dog’.

Stella:  Scratching on paper helps humans grieve?

Me:  Sometimes. I am sending her a picture that I have of her dog, too.

Stella:  Then she can remember.









Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Things We Can Do Without – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I want that, Lady Human! That thing in your hand! I can smell it. It’s peanut butter.

Me:  Peanut butter and CHOCOLATE and no, you can’t have it. Chocolate is bad for you. It’ll make you sick. It’s something you can do without.

Stella:  Why can’t you do without it?

Me:  Well, I can do without it. But I don’t really want to.

Stella:  Why doesn’t it make you sick?

Me:  I don’t know. It just doesn’t affect humans the way it does dogs. Now if I ate too much, that could make me sick, too. Too much of anything, even a good thing, can be bad for you.

Stella:  There’s no such thing as too much for a bulldog.

Me:  Too much sun. Too much heat. Too much cold.

Stella:  Not that stuff. I’m talking about important things like food, treats, belly scratching, naps. Those are things we cannot do without and there’s no such thing as too much. So, start scratching while I take another nap.

















Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Rain! Run! – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human is hurrying around. This must be one of her weird human moods.

Me:  Come on, boy. Come on, girls. Let’s get in. Stella, you need to go out now. Now!

Stella:  Uggghh! There’s that word again! What’s the hurry?

Me:  We’re working against a clock here.

Stella:  Clocks are human inventions. They don’t apply to us. Unless it has to do with breakfast and lunch. Then you dare not ignore that clock. The food clock rules.

Me:  This is a different type of clock. This clock is a sky clock and it runs at the speed of the wind. Rain is coming.

Stella:  What was that sound?

Me:  You know what it was.

Stella:  Thunder boomer.

Me:  That’s one way of putting it.

Stella:  Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Run! Run! Run!

Me:  Oh, so now it’s a priority.

Stella:  I’m not going to have rain hit my cute little rear end. And as for thunder boomers, nope! Hurry! What’s that favorite word of yours? NOW!







Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Don’t Go Stingy on the Treats! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I hereby call this pack meeting to order. Lady Human,, we have a beef with you.

Tiger:  A real beef having to do with beef.

Wiggles:  Yeah, not enough treats.

Miss Sweetie:  Yeah, the treats are so small that my mouth cannot feel that they are there. My mouth is sad.

Doodlebug:  Treats? What treats? I haven’t had a real treat in a century.

Me:  Okay, here we go.

Stella:  Hey, I am the Queen. I called this meeting to order.

Tiger:  Then be queen and get our treats back.

Me:  Y’all get treats all the time.

Stella:  But we have noticed…don’t think we haven’t…that the size of the treat has gotten way smaller lately.

Me:  You each get a treat every time you come in from outside and how many times a day is that?

Stella:  One.

Tiger:  No, at least two.

Wiggles:  Five. Count on your toes.

Miss Sweetie:  A million.

Me:  Bottom line, if I gave you a full treat every time, you would blow up like bulldog balloons.

Doodlebug:  I would like to see that.

Me:  Believe me, no. You wouldn’t. And you wouldn’t like the way it would feel. So, I break the treats apart. The vet warned me last year about distributing the treats too freely.

Stella:  I don’t know why you listen to that woman. All she does is wear a white coat and try to spoil our fun. We could go on strike until we get our full share of treats again.

Me:  Go on strike from what?  You all don’t do any work to strike from.

Stella:  Oh, is that what that means? Well then, never mind. We will just look pitiful. That usually works.




Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Oh, The Things We Do For Attention – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Well…Lady Human…I’m waiting.

Tiger:  Oh, not again.

Miss Sweetie:  This is always so weird, even for us.

Doodlebug:  I don’t ever do that.

Wiggles:  Show off!

Stella:  Lady Human, I’m ready to go out. How long do I have to stand here like this?

Me:  Why do you stand there like that?

Stella:  Like what?

Me:  Like a statue. Waiting for me to scratch your rear end and pat you before you will turn toward the door. I don’t even remember how this got started.

Stella:  Easy. You did it one time. I liked it. Now you must do it almost every time. The only times you don’t do our ceremony is when I need to potty really bad. Then it’s not so important.

Me:  But why is the ceremony important at all?

Tiger:  Oh, Lady Human, don’t you see?

Wiggles:  She is showing off in front of us.

Tiger:  Trying to be all that.

Wiggles:  And a bag of barbeque potato chips.

Me:  Stella, are you showing off? Trying to get special attention.

Stella:  I am the Queen. If anyone deserves special attention, it’s me. Now do the ceremony so I can go outside.

Me:  Oh, all right. It is kind of funny.

Stella:  Nothing about me is funny. Do it! Scratch my rear end while making that high-pitched noise. And then pat my rear end one…two…three times. NOW!

Me:   EEEEEEEE! Pat. Pat. Pat.

Stella:  Finally. Now I can move on.










Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





The Word “NOW” – Conversations with Stella and the Pack


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. We all know when Lady Human means business. I don’t understand what ‘business’ is, but I do understand when she means it. The big clue is when she shouts the word ‘NOW’.

Me:  I don’t shout.

Stella:  Then why do my ears tingle?

Me:  I don’t shout. Sometimes I elevate my voice to be heard over the cacophony of bulldog shouting.

Stella:  Especially when you shout the word ‘now’. ‘Now!’ must be a powerful word. Everyone pays attention when you shout it.

Me:  I don’t shout…

Miss Sweetie:  NOW is the super word. NOW means…I don’t know what it means, but it means something needs to happen NOW.

Doodlebug:  Lady Human says NOW when I am sniffing everything in the house but should be going out. I usually ignore it.

Tiger:  NOW means hurry, hurry, hurry. Like when it is going to rain during potty time or when the darkness of night is setting in. I think she means it as a warning. I had rather she say ‘NOW!’ than me get caught in the rain or the dark.

Wiggles:  I think she uses ‘NOW’ when I am standing around, looking at the sky, sniffing the air, and generally doing nothing that she understands. My work outside is important. Lady Human simply doesn’t get it.

Me:  Does the word ‘NOW’ catch your attention?

Miss Sweetie:  Yes.

Doodlebug:  Yes.

Tiger:  Yeah.

Wiggles:  Yes, indeed.

Stella:  I guess so.

Me:  Good. I’m glad something does.






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Loud Noises, Silly Humans – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde…


Stella: English….



Me: Yeah, somebody started early this year. Sounds pretty close, but it doesn’t sound like gunfire. It sounds like big firecrackers.

Stella: You know the difference?

Me: Yeah, unless the wind is contrary, you can usually tell a rifle from a pistol or a shotgun and fireworks sound different from those.

Stella: You sound unreasonably calm considering loud noises are exploding around us.

Me: Well, tomorrow is the 4th of July.

Stella: You say that as though it makes sense.

Me: Independence Day is a big holiday and people celebrate with fireworks. I guess it makes sense to me.

Stella: That is not a good recommendation for you, Lady Human.

Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved

Where Does Food Come From? – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am always curious about humans and their doings. Por ejemplo…

Me:  Por ejemplo? When did you start speaking Spanish?

Stella:  I heard Tall Man say that. What is Spanish?

Me:  Never mind. It would take too long to explain.

Stella:  As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by Lady Human, I want to know where food comes from. Our bowls are empty, then they are full. Then we empty them, then they are full again. How does that happen?

Me:  You see how that happens every time I pour food into your bowls right in front of your very eyes.

Stella:  Very eyes?  Do we have special eyes? Cool!

Me:  I mean you see me refill your food bowls every day.

Stella:  But where does food come from? The bucket is empty. You walk out of the room and a door closes. There is a strange metal sound and you come back in with a bucket full of food. Do you make the food? Does someone bring it to you? Why is it small and round? And why is it always brown? Your food is not always brown.

Me:  Number one – I don’t make it.  Number two – no one brings it to me. I go and pick it up. Number three – the metal sound comes from the receptacle where we store the food. Number four – I have no idea why it is round. It is small so you can chew it easily. And number five – it’s brown because it…just comes that way. Does that answer your questions?

Stella:  Nope. I guess I just have to accept it as one of those human mysteries no one will ever understand.








Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


You Smell Like Grass – Conversations with Stella


I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, you smell like grass. Not a bad smell, but not as good as the barbeque beef you smelled like before.

Me:  The abundant rain has nurtured a lot of weeds. I had to cut them down before they got out of hand.

Stella:  And then you rolled in them like a good dog would.

Me:  No, I don’t roll in cut grass.

Stella:  You could have fooled me.

Me:  Hey, there was a lot to be done.

Stella:  I don’t mind, Lady Human. I just prefer it when you got to a beef place and come back scented like barbeque.

Me:  Sorry.

Stella:  That’s okay. We got a whiff of barbeque when you first got home yesterday. By the way, why does church smell like barbeque?






Copyright 2019 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

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.