Do You Hear What I Hear? – Conversations with Stella

Stella:    Help! Weirdnesses have grown over Lady Human’s ears! Her ears are swollen so big. The weird things are consuming her head! If any humans can hear me, please help!

Me:        It’s all right, Stella! These are headphones, not weirdnesses, whatever those are. They help me hear when everything conspires against me. Namely, barking bulldogs.

Stella:    Why were you wearing them? They are not attractive. That is not an insult. That is a fact.

Me:        Thank you for your bulldog bluntness. I was listening to a seminar by Michael Hyatt about productivity and focus. Despite his suggestions, my productivity and focus were sorely disrupted by the barking of a pack of bulldogs.

Stella:    Your headphones did not protect you from our barking? We are more powerful than I thought we were. Excellent!

Me:        No, not excellent. Loud and distracting! What was the barking about?

Stella:    I don’t know. No one was speaking clearly. It sounded to me like Ruff! Ruff! Food! Ruff! Treats! Ruff! Ruff! Fun! You know. The usual stuff.

Me:        Sadly, I don’t know. I’ll have to take your word for it.

Stella:    I would not lie to you, Lady Human, not on purpose anyway.

Me:        When you see my headphones on my head, can you all try to keep the noise to a minimum.

Stella:    We will try. Now just how loud is a minimum?

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

A Sleep Deprived Bulldog is No Fun – Conversations with Stella

I am with Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge…

Stella:    Ahem.

Me:        Queen Stella…

Stella:    Thank you for setting …the record…straight. Ahhhhawwww.

Me:        Why are you yawning so much? Is it a dog thing?

Stella:    It is a tired dog thing.

Me:        But you sleep about 20 hours a day.

Stella:    Not lately. Haven’t you heard all the bulldog noise at night?

Me:        No. I must have slept through it.

Stella:    Lucky. Living in close quarters with bulldogs is hard.

Me:        Yeah, tell me about it.

Stella:    Okay.

Me:        Actually, that is a human expression that means you don’t have to tell me about it. I already know.

Stella:    Human expressions are stupid.

Me:        Agreed.

Stella:    With bulldogs, there is always snoring or farting or silly whining or barking.  How can anybody sleep under those conditions? And there are those weird noises at night and we wake up and bark to let you know in case there is a problem.

Me:        Yes, the warnings. Tall Man takes care of those. I seem to be able to sleep through them. I guess I’ve gotten used to them.

Stella:    Because you are a bulldog human.

Me:        So how can we make sure that you get more sleep?

Stella:    Earplugs against the barking and whining and snoring. And nose plugs against the bad smells.

Me:        I don’t think that’s a good idea. I have a feeling that you would end up trying to eat those earplugs and nose plugs, bulldog style.

Stella:    Only if they smell good and taste good.

Me:        So only if they are stinky and taste like garbage, right?

Stella:    Is there a problem with that?

Me:        A human problem, yes. Look, I will try to keep the nighttime bulldog disturbances to a minimum.

Stella:    I like it when you and I go camping, just the two of us. And we sleep in your little cloth house…

Me:        The tent?

Stella:    Yes, and you have lots of blankets and we eat stuff you bring and it is just the two of us. And it is quiet.

Me:        Quiet, yes, except for big rigs rolling down the highway and except for coyotes baying all night long as they go hunting.

Stella:    Wait. What? I don’t remember that. I didn’t hear that. Coyotes?

Me:        Yes. I stayed awake part of the night, listening.

Stella:    I had no idea.

Me:        You slept soundly all night long.

Stella;    What about you?

Me:        I slept and I awakened and I listened. That was my job.

Stella:    I had no idea.

Me:        Yes, that was your job.

Stella:   S0 it appears that we have been watching out for each other.

Me:        It would appear so.

Stella:    Thank you, Lady Human.

Me:        Thank you, Stella.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat Chasing Time – Where is the Cat? – Conversations with Stella

Here I am with Stella, the Olde English Bulldogges’ Queen…

Stella:    Where is the cat?

Me:         Excuse me?

Stella:    Where is the cat?

Me:         Chilling out in one of her many hiding places.

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Stella:    So where is the cat?

Me:        That’s for her to know and you to find out.

Stella:    That’s not funny. Is that a human game?

Me:        It was a long time ago.

Stella:    Why is the cat hiding? It is time for cat chasing.

Me:        Yeah, about that. That’s not really her favorite game.

Stella:    Why ever not? It is the most fun ever!

Me:        I have noticed something about that game that is a little odd.

Stella:    Like how I always win.

Me:        More like how you are the only one playing it.

Stella:    That is not correct. Bulldogs are cat chasers. We are all players. Whoop!

Me:        Whoop?

Stella:    Isn’t that what humans yell when they win?

Me:        Mmmmm. Not always.

Stella:    Where is the cat?

Me:        If this is a real game, you will have to find her.

Stella:    Not fair.

Me:        Of course it is fair. The cat’s hiding is part of the game. If the other bulldogs are playing, why can’t they help you find her?

Stella:    Well…to be honest, they are lazy. But you have suspected that for a long time.

Me:        No, they aren’t being lazy. They want you to play the game while they sit still and watch you run your rear end off. They bark and whine and get you all stirred up to search for the cat. Have you noticed that when they walk past the cat, they touch noses with her and there is no barking, no stomping, and no chasing? They leave that to you.

Stella:    Well…that is just…wrong! Grrrrrr! It makes me want to….

Me:        To tell the other bulldogs off?

Stella:    No, it makes me want to chase a cat. Go find me a cat to chase.

Me:        Nope. Find your own.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Speech! Speech! Speech! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:        Allow me to interrupt.

Stella:   Why not? You do all the time even without permission.

Me:        Only as necessary, so yes, just about all the time. What was that horrible throaty noise you were making to the other dogs? It sounded like gargling embedded in a whine.

Stella:   You have no appreciation for bulldoggese! Horrible? Gargling? Whine?

Me:        That’s what it sounded like to my human ears.

Stella:   I was giving a speech to my followers. You humans understand this. I have been hearing nothing but speeches from your human overlords for many days now.

Me:        Uh, excuse me. We don’t have human overlords. Not that some humans don’t try to lord it over us.

Stella:   That’s not what I was hearing on the Picture Box. And if you humans make speeches, why can’t I make one…or two…or a few more to my bulldogs?

Me:        What were you saying to the bulldogs?

Stella:   I told them that humans talk a lot and say very little. I told them that they were not to worry about that. I told them that they are not responsible for human speech that means nothing. I told them to ignore the cat, too. She talks entirely too much and nothing she says makes any sense. And I told them that if they don’t understand something that a human tells them to do, they should just start barking and the humans will give up.

Me:        Oh, thank you, Stella, that is so helpful.

Stella:   You are welcome.

Me:        No wonder the bulldogs are barking so much!

Stella:   I am their Queen. They do listen to me. Sometimes.  Do humans listen to their leaders when they make speeches?

Me:        Mmmmm.

Stella:   Maybe I should start making speeches to the humans. Maybe they would listen to me.

Me:        You know, Stella, under the current circumstances, it couldn’t hurt.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Mouth Traffic Jam – Stella’s Blog

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Once again, hello!

We bulldogs are known everywhere by our big, beautiful mouths. They are wide and deep and framed on the bottom by serious-looking teeth that Lady Human calls our “upside down vampire fangs”.  I don’t know what an upside down vampire is. Since she loves bulldogs, that was probably a compliment to us. Probably. Maybe. Lady Human says weird things sometimes. I still love her. Probably.

Bulldogs are vocal. Human translation: LOUD. It is one of the things I like most about us. If you are a dog, bark. If you are going to bark, BARK LOUD!

Don’t be a pipsqueak!

But having said that, there is too much bulldog mouth traffic around here. This past week has been LOUD. When Lady Human takes me somewhere in her rolling box and there are too many other rolling boxes in front of her, she says, ‘Traffic jam!’  That means we won’t get to the fun place or…yuck, the vet (a sweet lady, but you know, vet) any time soon.

What we have at our house is a MOUTH TRAFFIC JAM. Too much bulldog talk too much of the time. Why does this bother me? Because with everyone else barking, no one can hear me. As queen, I deserve to be heard first, foremost, and all the time.

If the queen barks and no one hears her, how can she be queen?

So today I am issuing a queen order. (A what? An edict? If you say so.)  I am issuing an edict.

NOBODY TALKS WHILE I AM TALKING. IF I AM QUIET AND START TALKING, EVERYBODY ELSE, SHUT UP!

SIGNED, QUEEN STELLA

Well, that was easy enough. I am surprised that the humans haven’t figured out the edict thing yet. It would solve all of their problems.

Signed, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Stella’s Blog – An Open Letter to My Sister, Snoopey

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

This is an open letter to my sister, Snoopey McLoud BarkyFace:

Dear Snoopey:

Shut up!!!

You are so tense. Every noise, every hint of a noise, every time one of the humans comes or goes, up you jump and loudly you bark. Now you have me jumping up whenever you jump up. Declare an end to the stupid! I have only had two 10-hour naps today and I am sleep deprived. All thanks to you.

The humans are under pressure because of bad things that happened within miles, but not in our backyard. They are sad and that’s when they need us the most. If you are tense because they are, get over it. Jumping up to bark every few minutes won’t help anybody and, more importantly, it ticks me off!

It is late. Listen to me. I am your sister and I love you. Well, maybe, most of the time. Don’t get any ideas of taking advantage. No treat sharing or toy sharing, so don’t even ask. Sharing is for puppies and sister love extends only so far.

GO TO SLEEP! PLEASE! You will feel better in the morning. If not, we can find an island where you can go on a nice vacation and sunbathe on the warm sand. Lady Human tells me that such places exist. I don’t know that they are dog islands though, so you will probably have to get something called a “passport”.

Good Night, Snoopey! Sweet dreams. Everything will be all right.

Love (sort of),

Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges (and your sister)

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

Stop the Noise! I Can’t Think! – Conversations with Stella

The noise level in the house has increased ten-fold this week. Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge, may be able to shed light on why.

Stella:   Not our fault. Totally falls on the humans’ shoulders. What did you think would happen when you brought a long red pole with a sponge on it into the house? Who can stand such a thing?

Me:        It’s a mop. How are we supposed to mop the floor without a mop?

Stella:   Stick a towel on your feet and skate. I’ve seen you do that before.

Me:        On a small area. Not on the whole floor. And you didn’t just go nuts barking at the mop. Once you got your bucket kicked over, you all were barking at everything.

Stella:   Our barking is a public service. If you don’t want us to bark, don’t bring in strange things that fit on the end of long poles. We hate long, skinny stuff. And don’t bring around strange people either, no matter what shape they are.  We are not partial to strangers. It took us long enough to get used to you and Tall Man.

Me:        Well, with all the barking, I can’t think my way out of a box.

Stella:   Why would you be in a box?

Me:        It means that I can’t think through even simple problems.

Stella:   I am sorry, Lady Human. I am sorry that we are so annoying. We are bulldogs.

Me:        No, don’t be sorry, Stella. If it weren’t for your noise, things would be too quiet around here.

Stella:   As a favor to you, we will stop barking. For today only. Just to make room for your thinking. We don’t want you to be stuck in a box. Tomorrow we will recommence.

Me:        Can’t we make that bark stoppage permanent?

Stella:   Not if you insist on mopping.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Stella’s Blog – Why Are Humans Crazy?

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

Today’s question: Why are humans crazy?

I wish I understood humans better. Not just their long words that don’t translate into bulldoggese, but why they keep bringing in weird stuff that is scary.

The vacuum I understand. It is loud and annoying, but I now know that it will not suck me in. The humans use it to clean up dog hair. Dog hair is not a problem, but it is the humans’ time to waste so I don’t interfere.

The little round boxes that make a false wind are not a problem anymore either. They make us feel cooler and the wind is never strong enough to knock anything down. I will allow them to stay.

Then there are all the strange, loud things that Tall Man does outside. Roaring and sawing and banging. Buzzing that sounds like a giant bee. (Oh, no! Not giant insects! Not again! If we are really quiet, maybe they will go away.)

And now, the latest horror. A LONG RED POLE with a SPONGE attached to one end. Why is that so frightening? I HAVE NO IDEA, BUT IT IS!

How would you like it if a long red stick with a sponge showed up in your home and someone started dipping it in water and pushing it around the floor? Exactly! You wouldn’t like it at all. We sure didn’t. We barked and yelped and told it to leave. We didn’t care that Tall Man was the one pushing it. The awful pole with the sponge had fooled him into bringing into the house. I don’t know what it was up to, what its evil plan was, but all the bulldogs agreed that it needed to leave.

Of course, Moon the Cat was no help, as usual. She slept through the whole thing or pretended to. She may have planned the whole thing. How do we know what she is doing when she is out of sight?

How can we bulldogs stop these frightening things from happening? How long will the humans bring crazy, scary things into the house?

Well, at least things have settled down…wait, what is that in Tall Man’s hands? It is a LONG GREEN POLE with a SAW on the end of it. Humans! Will the nightmare never end?

 

Have a nice day!

 

Signed,

Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Stella’s Blog – You Call This a Celebration?

This is Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

What was going on last night?

Boom-booms started after the sun went to bed. They rocked the sky for hours. I thought a big storm was roaring, but when I finally agreed to let Lady Human lead me out into the yard, no storm, no rain, no wind, just boom-booms and more boom-booms.

Tiger refused to go out; she was afraid of the sky booming. Ridiculous! Tiger, never pass up a chance to  go to the bathroom!

Lady Human did not seem nervous or afraid so I decided that I did not have to worry, but I got my business done in double quick time all the same.

I waited for her to tell me what was happening. When she didn’t, I stared at her until she got the point. Humans need hints. I didn’t understand all of her words, but she said that the humans were celebrating something big and the boom-booming was how they showed their joy.

That makes no sense. When bulldogs celebrate, we don’t make loud noises – oh, wait, we do, but barking is not nearly so loud and annoying and scary as boom-booming in the sky. How the humans were making the sky boom, I have no idea. Humans are very clever and are able to make things fly. They are also silly and waste their time on things that have nothing to do with food, treats, or toys.

Bulldogs know how to celebrate. We dance, we prance, we roll, we bark, we talk, we eat, we sleep, we sniff, we run, we slap with our paws, we chew, we burp, and we let air out in other ways not so popular.

Humans could learn a thing or two about celebrating from us.

Finally, the boom-booming slowed down. Then it stopped. The humans causing it had fallen asleep or had run out of loud noise makers. But a little later, the sky got loud again, and this time we saw light flash.  A storm had arrived. Thunder cracked and sky fire lit up everything. It went on and on.

The humans may disagree with me, but I think the Great Creator was celebrating with them.

Happy Celebrating, People!

Signed, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

Being Quiet When Others Aren’t

 

Quiet was a precious commodity that I discounted for much of my life. I grew up as an only child and my friends called me lucky. There were no sibling rivalries or fights. Little was required to be shared. I watched what I wanted to on TV. Well, I did have to share several hours a week with my parents. But the most special gift I possessed without realizing it was the freedom to retreat to my room and think or read or listen to music by myself. The greatest gift I possessed was quiet.

We have lived through a week of the unusual, including a bad automobile accident that my son was involved in last night. He is fine, as are the two young men who were in the vehicle that hit him. By God’s great grace, everyone walked away from a wreck that the officer at the scene told my son should have claimed the lives of those teenagers. After their car struck my son’s, they rolled over. Their tire tracks are on the side of my son’s SUV.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that seat belts don’t matter. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that God is not merciful. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that dogs can’t sense your emotions.

These have been barking days. I mean that literally. And figuratively.

Without having directly lived through any of the events of this week, the bulldogs have sensed the tension, the unrelenting pressure. They don’t know how to put it into our words, so they put it into theirs.

I have never heard these dogs bark so much, so loudly, so continuously as I have over the past few days. Especially Tiger and Miss Sweetie.

Why Miss Sweetie, I don’t know. She is young and opinionated. She excites easily and is hard to calm down. Any new twist to our schedule intrigues her and disturbs her. She is bullheaded and bulldoggy. She is sensitive.

Tiger I understand better. Tiger understands pain. This next week will be the one year anniversary of the dog attack that almost took her life before she came to us. In fact, she came to us as a result of that fight with one of her previous pack members. When I have been in pain for any reason, I see Tiger wince. (For Tiger’s whole story, see Saving Tiger Parts 1 – 4 in the archives of this blog).

When the nonstop barking begins, I can easily fall into annoyance, but I have no right to. Their barking is the only way they have of showing that they know something is wrong. In our house. In our world.

 

God bless these dogs for caring enough to bark.

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Stella’s Blog – Urgent Alert! – Monster Invasion!

Humans, beware! A new monster is in town! It invaded our house and took Tall Man captive. Here is its description:

Its roar is a storm wind caught in a box. It is taller than me or any of the bulldogs and we were not able to stop it. Well, to be honest, we didn’t really try. Tiger is the only one who tried. She bit at it again and again. The monster paid no attention. The rest of us barked though. I thought that was brave of us, but barking only seemed to make the monster angrier. Hey, at least we didn’t run away.

The monster grabbed Tall Man’s hand and pulled him around the room, making its awful whirring scream. It had a long, black tail that got stuck in the wall. It dragged him behind the chairs and the couch, and if anything was on the floor, it sucked it in and ATE IT! Even pieces of food that we had dropped! NO!

Finally, it pulled Tall Man into the room where cars and machines live. We don’t know what happened after that. When it got dark, Tall Man reappeared. He had escaped! We were so happy! There was no sign of the loud sucking monster! He did not say so, but we bulldogs believe that he defeated the monster in battle. He is our hero! Until the next monster shows up. Then he will have to prove himself all over again.

Where are all these monsters coming from? First, giant insects. Now obnoxious, grabby, loud-mouthed monsters with wheels and forked tails. Food stealers. We dropped that food by accident. We were planning to come back for it later. Not fair!

Transcriptionist:  Stella, that so-called monster was a new vacuum cleaner.

 No, I have seen vacuums before. This was a monster. Just ask Tall Man. It wrestled him.

Transcriptionist:  You thought he was a giant insect a few months ago. That wasn’t true either.

 You are denying the monster invasion. That means only the bulldogs will be ready when they come in force.

Transcriptionist:  Not everything is a monster, Stella.

Wrong! Everything is a monster until proved otherwise. That’s how bulldogs play it safe. Stay alert, humans!

Until next time, this has been

Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, Queen of the Bulldog Monster Hunters

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

Stella’s Blog – No Barking at Breakfast

Hello! I am Stella, Queen (Yes, QUEEN) of the Olde English Bulldogges. Welcome once again to my blog. I like blogging because I have much to say on every subject, even subjects I know nothing about.

The sky has been crying a lot. Rain, the humans call it. But I am dry and comfortable. Why? Because I do not dance in the water like Miss Sweetie and Doodlebug. They are silly puppies and come back in the house painted with mud and who knows what else. I am dignified and all grown up and…oh, what’s that? The cat is running and I must catch her!  Aaaagghh! I slid on the floor. Missed chance! Where was I? Ah, I am a dignified grown-up and I don’t do silly things.

Which is why I want to complain about barking at breakfast.

I like a nice, quiet morning. Breakfast comes after outdoor potty time (take note, Miss Sweetie – outdoor potty time. There is no official indoor potty time ever.) Lady Human calls our food time “The Hallelujah Breakfast Club” and she eats with us. Not the same food  out of our bowls. I would not like that. Everybody, stay out of my bowl! I don’t want your dirty mouths in it. That goes double for Lady Human. I have no idea what humans eat or chew on. I don’t even want to think about it.

I have noted way too much loud bulldog talk during breakfast. Tiger is the biggest loudmouth. If I can wait patiently for my bowl to be filled, why can’t you,Tiger? And Doodlebug does not have to put his five pennies in either.

(Pause for consultation with transcriptionist)

 Two cents. I have been informed that the human expression is two cents. Very well. Two cents. It sounded more like five to me.

The point is they have nothing to say and it is too early to be listening to loud noises. Barking should be used for emergencies only, such as strangers, hurry up bathroom runs, Moon the Cat, and singing the song of our people.

So please, everyone, dogs and people, keep the barking down in the mornings. The only sound that we should hear is bulldog mouths chomping our food. Humans may stay if they eat silently.

Thank you for your kind attention. That is all.

Signed,

Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Conversations with Stella – The Crying Sky

Me:        Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge, is back for another conversation about her important question of the day. So what has you perturbed today, Stella?

Stella:   First of all, QUEEN STELLA to you. Others may call me “Your Majesty”.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:   The sky has been crying too much.

Me:        We have been having a wet spring.

Stella:   Why?

Me:        It would take a long to explain and I’m not sure you would understand. I ‘m not sure that I do. Some years are rainy and some are dry.

Stella:   Is the sky sad?

Me:        The sky doesn’t have emotions like that. There are a lot of things going on up there.

Stella:   Is the Creator angry? I heard the big booms over and over again the past few nights. And light was flashing outside.

Me:        Those were thunderstorms. The Creator is far more powerful than a thunderstorm. We can’t even imagine how powerful. If the Creator were angry with us, a thunderstorm would be the least of our concerns.

Stella:   It was scary.

Me:        But you were safe even though something scary was going on.

Stella:   Snoopey was so stupid. She started barking and all that did was make things louder.

Me:        The storms frighten her, too. She was just trying to warn us.

Stella:   Stupid Snoopey! Barking at the sky!

Me:        But you were scared, too.

Stella:   Yes, but I didn’t bark like a silly head. I hunkered down in my bed and covered my face like a smart dog. Lady Human, you talk to the Creator, don’t you?

Me:        Yes, it’s called prayer.

Stella:   I thought so because sometimes you are talking when no humans are around and you aren’t talking to me or the bulldogs. Or to that silly cat. Would you ask the Creator to stop the sky from crying so much and so loudly?

Me:        I’m not going to ask for the rain to stop. We need it for the lakes and rivers and fields. Summer is coming. But I can ask for moderate rain, not so much all at once.

Stella:   Is the Creator mean?

Me:        No, He is kind.

Stella:   Then why are there scary thunderstorms?

Me:        Maybe He allows them so we will remember to look up.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Bark at the TV

I have always watched television. My father told me that from the time I could stand, I would place myself right in front of the bulky old screen and stare at the black-and-white images that danced across it.

Over the years, I have cut back on my television viewing. I limit myself now to a few series and some old movies. The dogs are pretty much always in the room where our only television sits and so they get exposed to whatever we are watching.

Most of the time, they aren’t watching, but when a dog on the TV barks, they are on their feet in an instant. The probability of my quieting them in less than ten minutes is just about nil, so I usually have to pause whatever is on and wait them out.

I remember watching the old Gary Cooper movie, Friendly Persuasion, when a scene with a honking goose showed up. Boy howdy, that was a major barking event. Nobody believed me when I told them that it was just a goose in a movie.  “IT’S ON THE TV! IT’S ON THE TV!” Why did I bother to repeat myself? They heard the goose (which probably went to its reward decades ago – that movie was released in 1956) and jumped right into the conversation.

I know good and well that nothing has ever come busting through that screen in spite of what horror movie producers would have us believe. You wouldn’t be able to tell that from listening to our dogs.

Their bulldog barking is silly, loud, and disruptive. Nobody on the TV can even hear them.

So why do I bark at the TV?

Yes, I have caught myself standing in front of the screen, talking (loudly), laying out my “perfect” wisdom to someone on television who cannot hear me or see me (unless there really are secret cameras and microphones embedded, but I won’t speculate about that), and likely wouldn’t care a jot if they could.

At least the dogs have an excuse. They are dogs. When it comes to understanding television broadcasts, they don’t have the sense that God gave a goose, on screen or off. But what about me? I should know better than to argue with an image.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

Conversations with Stella – My Beautiful Bed, Goodbye!

Me:        Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge, is frustrated and sad. She is going through a mini crisis.

Stella:   Mini? You mean like those little dachshunds. No, not mini! Biggy! A biggy sad!

Me:        Okay, a biggy sad. Why don’t you explain?

Stella:   My bed! My wonderful, perfect bed! The one Tall Man gave me the first night I came here to my new home. It’s ….gone! Destroyed! Life will never be the same!

Me:        And how did it come to be destroyed so suddenly?

Stella:   Mmmmm, not sure.

Me:        Mmmmm, think about it.

Stella:   Well, my fancy Nylabone was stuck under my bed and it refused to come out when I called it so I could chew on it and I got more and more frustrated and I started pawing at the pad and I kept on and on…and before I knew it, a big hole…just appeared…and stuffing came out…and….AAAAWWWWGHH! The floor to my beautiful bed was GONE!

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Me:        Do you understand how the big hole happened?

Stella:   AAAAWWWWGHH! No!

Me:        The beds are not meant to be pawed and pawed like that. You have to be gentle with them.

Stella:   AAAAWWWWGHH! But I’m a bulldog!

Me:        At least I got your Nylabone untangled.

Stella:   Yes…thank you. Chewing on it made me feel better.

Me:        Hey, I gave you another bed.

Stella:   It’s not the same.

Me:        It’s the same size by the same company.

Stella:   Not the same. Doesn’t smell like me.

Me:        It will. Honestly, it probably already does.

Stella:   Not the same. My beautiful bed had dog memories. I had some great dreams in that bed. Running, barking, chasing the cat. Gone. All gone.

Me:        You will enjoy new dreams.

Stella:   How would you feel if your bed was destroyed?

Me:        I would have to get another and break it in, get used to it, but it would be all right.

Stella:   Your bed must not be as special as mine was.

Me:        Special? I don’t know. It’s comfortable.

Stella:   AAAAWWWWGHH! You don’t understand!

Me:        Well, I am going to try to fix your old bed. I am going to sew a new floor into it so you will still have the same bolster all the way around it on which to rest your head.

Stella:   You can do that? Really?

Me:        I can try. I have some fabric that might work. Even for a bulldog.

Stella:   When? When? When?

Me:        Give me a few days. I’m going to have to stitch it by hand.

Stella:   Lady Human, if there is anything good that I can ever do for you, just let me know.

Me:        You can keep from clawing up the floor of your bed in the future. As for anything else, well, Stella, I think you’ve already done it.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Stella’s Blog – So Much Rudeness, So Little Time

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

Let me plunge right into my List of Offenders. I have not updated it for a while and, as a result, the list is longer this time. In order from least to most offensive:

  • Me – that’s right. Good ole Stella. I have been perfect this week – quiet, obedient, undemanding. I definitely deserve more treats than I have received. I will speak to Lady Human about that later.
  • Moon the Cat – I have to be honest. It hurts to admit it, but Moon the Cat was better behaved this week than any of the bulldogs, other than me, of course. The only thought that gives me comfort is that the situation will not last. Why? Because CAT!
  • Tiger – You silly thing, you are still challenging Snoopey, just not so often. I see you prancing…yes, prancing…past Snoopey, hoping to provoke her. And you are still barking at Lady Human when she is busy with mysterious human behavior. Tiger, be more considerate of Lady Human’s time. Hey, she wasn’t petting any of the rest of us either.
  • Snoopey – Please stop sticking your lower lip out in that pitiful way and making that high-pitched ruh-ruh-ruh whiny noise from your throat. We know what you’re up to, Attention-Grabber.
  • Squawker the Silkie Chicken – I know you are a chicken and your brain is not as big as mine, but PLEASE, if there is no emergency, STOP THE SQUAWKING! You are the only one doing it. How would you like it if I stood by your chicken run and barked and barked and barked all the live long day? Get the picture? I don’t mind if you ladies cluck quietly among yourselves, just keep it down.
  • WIGGLES! – If I were a human, I would scream. Wiggles, if it’s time to go in your crate, GO IN! Stop arguing about everything. Just because you are a bulldog, you don’t have to be bulldoggy all the time. It is unbecoming. But worse than that, when Lady Human turned her back, YOU PEED IN THE HALL…ON THE BEAN BAG CHAIR!!! That’s where we play with Lady Human! Hey, I like to sit on that chair myself. Well, I used to like it. Now I may not ever be able to make myself sit on it again. And why? You had just been outside for…I don’t know…I can’t tell time, but it was a long while. This is what comes of the humans always saying “Oh, what a sweet dog you are, Wiggles” and “Wiggles, what a good dog!” This will teach them. Peeing indoors is not “sweet” or “good”, Wiggles. If you absolutely have to pee, at least keep in off the furniture and on the floor.

As you can see, people, it was a difficult week to be the queen. Thank you for your kind attention.

Signed,

Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

We Don’t Need No Clocks!

Since a very young age, my daily life has run to the movement of a clock. Time to wake up, time to go to bed, time to go to school, time to go to work, time to go to church, time to go home. Even time to watch my favorite TV shows.

In the old, old days, people had sundials and, before that, they had the sun itself along with the moon and the patterned stars that counted the time as Earth twirled in a trustworthy rhythm on its axis. I believe those may have been steadier, more peaceable days.

Honestly, clocks kind of tick me off. (Sorry for the pun.)

I lose count of how many times a day I check a clock. Am I on time? Am I running late? Where did the day go? I should know. I was there the whole time. My attention to the clock has cost me time by sucking away my focus from where I should have been looking.

Our dogs do very well without clocks, thank you. They carry timers in their stomachs. Brunch is to be served at 11 a.m. precisely, seven days a week. And we had better not be late because massive hubbub ensues if we miss it by even a couple of minutes.

Foot-stomping, loud yawns, strange bulldog vocalizations. And then – BARKING! My interpretation of the mess call goes like this: “Hey! Did y’all forget something? Food! Food! Food!”

Our dog’s internal clocks are never off. They never have to be wound nor have their batteries changed. They are organic, the way I would like for my clocks to be.

“Oh, is it time to eat? My stomach just said so.”

 “How long until sunset? Long enough to play one more round of keep away.”

 “How many minutes are left for nap time? Wait, what’s a minute?”

 I understand. Clocks are human tools. I am a human. I will continue to use our tools. Still, it’s nice every once in a while to think, “What time is it?” and answer, “I don’t care.”

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” Genesis 1:14 KJV

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Stella’s Blog – Humans. Why?

Hello! I am Stella, the Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. (Let’s wait a few moments to see if my transcriptionist will interrupt to say something like, “No, you’re not the queen” or “self-styled”. I don’t know what “self-styled” means, but I am sure that it is rude.)

Okay, no interruption so far. Please join me for MY blog. Today’s topic: Humans. Why?

I discussed a similar question with my blog post entitled “Why Did God Make Cats?”

The existence of humans is not nearly as confusing as the existence of cats. Actually, I still have no answer for why cats should exist. That one may be a long time in coming, but I believe the Creator will help me to understand someday. I am sure He had His reasons.

Humans are an easier question because they actually do stuff that helps dogs. (Can cats truthfully say that?)

Here’s a short list of how humans help us:

Food.

Treats.

Food.

Treats.

Did I mention food?

(Transcriptionist: Stella, you’re repeating yourself.)

Ah, our first interruption. MY BLOG, MY RULES. Where was I?

Treats.

Treats.

Treats.

What else?

Softy toys – Humans don’t really have to make them in the shape of pink and blue dogs and red lobsters. We are not fooled. We know that they are not real. People think we are stupid. Here’s a secret: We’re not the ones making pink and blue wiener dogs that don’t even have any wieners in them. Where are the wieners, humans?

Chew toys – Great for relaxing after a long day, though for many, many thousands of years, we dogs have provided our own chew toys in the form of sticks.

Soft beds – What a wonderful invention. Perfect for lazy dogs. And the humans can use them, if there is enough room.

Love – did I say that?

(Transcriptionist: Yes, you did, you sweet, smooshy- faced, old thing,)

 Well, I didn’t mean to. It just slipped out. And now you’ve gone and called me those mushy names. Please stop it. I just meant that the head pets are nice and the belly rubs. But stay away from that hugging business.

So do humans serve a purpose? The Great Creator must have thought so. (Of course, He made cats, too, and I still don’t understand that.)

They keep telling me that dog is man’s best friend.  Maybe the humans are ours.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

VOTE FOR ME! – Conversations with Stella

Me:        With me once again is Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge.

Stella:   Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

Me:        So called.

Stella:   Jealous.

Me:        You had a question about what the humans have been doing this week.

Stella:   Why have the humans been talking so much in the yards this week? You and Tall Man and the neighbors?

Me:        You noticed that?

Stella:   Next Door Man’s dogs stayed all stirred up, barking the only way they ever do – loud and obnoxious. I think that they are not very smart. They repeat themselves a lot. I peeked through the fence while I was in the yard. You humans were talking and talking and did not seem very happy.

Me:        We were talking about politics. A big vote is coming up next fall.

Stella:   Mmmmm. When the air is cooler. Because you can’t vote when the weather is hot. That makes good sense. Hot humans don’t know what they are doing.

Me:        I don’t think the heat has much to do with that.

Stella:   I remember what you said about voting. I still don’t like it. I think voting is a dumb idea that humans made up so they can meet in yards and talk too much and too loud, like Next Door Man’s dogs do. Then the humans get hot and do other dumb things like cooking delicious meat outside and dropping it on the ground and throwing it away instead of giving it to me.

Me:        That was an accident. Tall Man felt badly about that, but the meat was too dirty to give to you or the others.

Stella:   No dropped meat is ever too dirty. That’s what tongues are for.

Me:        Yuck.

Stella:   So the humans don’t like voting either.

Me:        We don’t like some of the choices.

Stella:   So vote for yourself.

Me:        It takes more than one vote normally.

Stella:   I am the Queen. I can change that.

Me:        Nope. It’s a human thing. And I haven’t noticed you changing any bulldog things around here, Your Highness.

Stella:   Finally! Some respect! Bulldogs! Vote for me and you will see things change.

Me:        Like what?

Stella:   Long naps every afternoon.

Me:        You all already do that.

Stella:   Double food portions.

Me:        So you can get fat.

Stella:   No more nail trimming for us.

Me:        Bad plan in the long term.

Stella:   VOTE FOR ME! LIFE WILL BE GREAT!

Me:        That’s what they all say.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Smack Talk – Cat Style

Moon, our cat, is part Siamese with a beautiful gray coat and serene blue eyes. When she talks, her comments consist primarily of soft meows, sometimes in a long, repetitive string and sometimes just a quick, clipped sound that lets you know she could say something. She just doesn’t want to. Unlike the vocal majority, aka the bulldogs, she walks a quiet path.

So when she started scrunching up her face and meowing in an irritated tone at Snoopey, I was bewildered. Why this sudden change in behavior? She only does it when Snoopey barks or whines at me. Snoopey never chases the cat. Perhaps as pack leader of the bulldogs, she considers cat chasing undignified. But Snoopey does join in excited barking at the cat when Moon  is running around the room.

Thus far, Moon has reserved this ugly talk just for Snoopey. Even though Stella is her greatest nemesis, she hasn’t thrown a single meow in her direction (at least not since the “meow to the face” event she pulled on each of the bulldogs while they were napping).

 

Watching the cat and listening to her, her attitude toward Snoopey seems to be “Oh, so you think you’re so tough! Look at my teeth. Sharp. And I am way quicker than any of you loud, rotund dogs. For all your stomping and trundling around, you’re not all that great! And stop yelling at the Lady. She’s not your servant! She’s my servant! So don’t go telling her what to do!

 I know Moon is having a “conversation” with Snoopey about something, and from the look on Moon’s face, it is a sore subject.

I don’t find smack talk all the helpful. We all need to vent every now and then. Vents allow the dangerous build up of pressure to escape without damage. If we’re venting in someone’s direction though, we have to be sure that while we are not letting ourselves explode with pent up feelings, we don’t direct a harmful column of words into someone else’s face.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29 KJV)

Snoopey appears to be ignoring Moon’s cat diatribes. Moon showed her teeth again, wrinkled up her face and meowed. “Bulldogs, schmulldogs! You all look like a bunch of upside down vampires to me !”

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.