Don’t Show Off! – Conversations with Stella

Stella:    Lady Human! Who are those dogs on the Picture Box?

Me:        That’s the Westminster Kennel Club Show. I recorded it.

Stella:    Do they know that the green they are prancing around on is not real grass.

Me:        They probably don’t care.

Stella:    Someone will care if they go to the bathroom on it. Somebody’s going to be mad that their green carpet isn’t green anymore. Look! It’s a bulldog. Look! He threw up! Hahahahahahaha! This is a good show!

Me:        Stella, that’s not funny. He was trying to make a good impression on the judge.

Stella:    He made a good impression on me. He didn’t miss a step. True bulldog. Wait! Judge? There’s a judge? Like judges on the Picture Box who send humans to jail? Are they sending the dogs to jail? Noooo!

Me:        Not that kind of judge. This show is a contest.

Stella:    Like the Super Bowl?

Me:        Sort of, but there is no physical contact. Thank God. I would hate to see how that would turn out.

Stella:    Easy. Bulldogs win.

Me:        Not necessarily. And there is no prize money at this dog show. The winner gets a ribbon or something and the honor of being named Best of Breed or Best of Show.

Stella:    Why is that dog standing on a table? Is that a white-coat human?

Me:        A vet? No, that is a judge, and not the jailing type judge. Each breed has set standards and that judge is checking the dog to see how well he meets those standards.

Stella:    That’s mean, Lady Human. Comparing dogs based on how we look. We can’t help that, even though that one there is very good looking. I bet humans don’t have contests comparing their looks.

Me:        Oh, you’d be surprised…

Stella:    Don’t ever put me in one of those show-off shows, Lady Human.

Me:        Don’t worry, Stella. I couldn’t if I wanted to.

Stella:    What? Why not? Don’t you think I am pretty enough?

Me:        It’s not that.

Stella:    What? You think that I can’t run around fake green grass in circles like a silly nilly and smile and smile and tilt my head and be all like ‘aren’t I the cutest thing’?

Me:        Oh, I know you can do that, especially the silly nilly part.

Stella:    Then why?

Me:        You are an Olde English Bulldogge.

Stella:    I am Queen.

Me:        Well, queen or not, ‘Oldies’ are not recognized by the American Kennel Club. Yet. That means you can’t even get into the contest.

Stella:    What do you mean ‘not recognized’? LOOK AT ME! I AM THE BULLDOGGIEST BULLDOG EVER! How could they not recognize me?

Me:        It’s hard to explain. It has to do with pedigree and bloodlines and paperwork.

Stella:    Precisely why humans should not be judging dog shows. Dogs should.

Me:        The dog shows are human events.

Stella:    Like everything else. Phufff.

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Help! My Squirrel Is Missing! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges and this is an emergency red alert to all humans and dogs within the sound of my voice. My squirrel, better known as Jerky McSquirrelyFace, is missing. If you see this squirrel, ask him why he left and tell him that we miss him…

Me:        Wait! What is all this about? Your squirrel?

Stella:    Jerky! I haven’t seen him in days!

Me:        And you are just now putting out an alert? Your definition of emergency is different from mine.

Stella:    I thought he might have gone on vacation.

Me:        Do squirrels do that?

Stella:    Sure. How would you like to eat the same pecans from the same trees all the time? I know how that feels, same old dog food every day, but back to Jerky. He has not come back. The sidewalks are clean. There are no half-eaten nuts or acorns on the ground. No one has been throwing shells on my head when I go outside.

Me:        He hasn’t left.

Stella:    What? Are you sure?

Me:        Sure.

Stella:    Well, where has the little booger been?

Me:        He has expanded his territory. He is bringing food in from other places, still using our property as a base. I see him running down the top of our fence almost every morning when I am outside with Miss Sweetie. Usually he has a pecan in his mouth. Oh, and he has a girlfriend.

Stella:    But…I thought…he liked me.

Me:        He has a squirrel girlfriend. You are a bulldog as you are always reminding me.

Stella:    Oh, all right!

Me:        And what do you mean you thought he liked you? How many times have you complained about him? How he was throwing nuts on our heads and chucking at us. You were the one who named him ‘Jerky’. Most friends don’t call friends ‘Jerky’.

Stella:    I was fond of him so I gave him a cute nickname.

Me:        Are you fond of me? I wonder what cute nickname you’ve given me.

Stella:    Well, that will just be my little secret. Never mind, humans and dogs within the sound of my voice. Red alert is cancelled. Jerky, my little squirrel nemesis, is still here. Let the games resume.

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

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.

 

 

 

Stink Eye 2.0 – Conversations with Stella

I received the infamous Stink Eye from Snoopey today.

Stella:    As an Olde English Bulldogge myself, I greatly appreciate Snoopey’s skill at delivering the Stink Eye. She is an artist.

Me:        Well, I don’t find it to be a work of art.

Stella:    Why did she shoot the Stink Eye at you? Did you cave in to it? Did you show weakness?

Me:        No, I did not cave or show weakness. What kind of human would I be if I did? She objected to me letting you out for a sunbath before I let her out.

Stella:    What? Queen Stella comes first. How dare she?

Me:        She did not appreciate it. She gave me a sidelong, extended Stink Eye, bulldog-style. Now I understand that she is the pack leader among the dogs and I respect that.

Stella:    Yes, every day you open her crate first and she gets first pick on treats. I don’t like it, but I tolerate it.

Me:        So how is it that Snoopey is pack leader and you are the Queen?

Stella:    The Queen is royal and regal and dignified. That’s me all over.  The pack leader defends, watches, warns, balances. That is Snoopey all over. I admire her. But she has no right to sunbathe before me! No! No! No!

Me:        I’ll try to balance your competing interests.

Stella:    No competition. I win. I am the Queen. A queen without a crown…hint, hint.

Me:        I still haven’t found a suitable one. I could make you one out of…

Stella:    Don’t say cardboard. Nope. Real crown.

Me:        What about plast…

Stella:    Nope. No plastic.

Me:        You stopped me too soon. What about plaster?

Stella:    Plaster. Hmmm. Nope. I don’t know what it is, but it sounds cheap. My crown should be expensive.

Me:        I’ll keep working on it.

Stella:    Work harder! Work faster!

Me:        Or what?

Stella:    Oh, I think you know. If you don’t, go ask Snoopey Stink Eye.

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

You’re All Wet! – Conversations with Stella

I AM STELLA, QUEEN OF THE OLDE ENGLISH BULLDOGGES! HERE ME ROAR!

Me:        Is that what that noise was? I thought you were choking on something. What a relief!

Stella:    Silence, peasant!

Me:        Excuse me?

Stella:    You are excused.

Me:        Stella, remember? “No rude, no crude, no bulldog mood.”

Stella:    Yes, I remember. Sounds like something a human would say.

Me:        It is.

Stella:    You are all wet. You are dripping on the floor. How come?

Me:        Miss Sweetie and I had a difference of opinion about whether or not she would take a bath. I won. And I lost.

Stella:    Hahaha! Well, she does smell better. So I think we all won. But you are still all wet.

Me:        I’ll dry out. One of the great things about being human is our ability to change clothes. One of the great things about wrestling Miss Sweetie over a bath is that I get a wonderful physical workout. 70 pounds of bulldog pulling this way and that makes me work for my victory.

Stella:    Any day Miss Sweetie smells good is a victory for all of us. Congratulations!

Me:        That reminds me. You are about due for a bath yourself.

Stella:    Whaaagggttt? Naw. It wasn’t that long ago. You are all wet.

Me:        So if I dry out and give you a bath, you are saying that I will be all wet again?

Stella:    Well, not on purpose. But yes, on purpose. Have you seen my shake and roll?

Me:        Uh-huh.

Stella:    I can sling it. Yeah, I can. Do you doubt it?

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    I am going to get a bath, am I not?

Me:        Yep. And that’s not a bad thing, my friend.

Stella:    It’s all right in the aftermath. Or afterbath.

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Squirrel Staredown! – Stella’s Blog

I am Stella, also known as Flying Stella, Squirrel Fighter. Yes, I am Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, but that takes second place today.

Lady Human snapped a picture of Jerky McSquirrelyFace while he was snacking on still more of our green pecans, pecans that never had a chance to grow and ripen into the delicious autumn nuts that bulldogs love to eat off the ground, delicious nuts that give us gas. 

Flatulence is a small price to pay for such a wonderful treat.

Transcriptionist: Speak for yourself, Stella. You are not on the receiving end. 

Stella: Silence! The Queen IS speaking!

Transcriptionist: I guess I’m going to have to give my bulldog lecture about rudeness again. 

Stella: My blog, my rules. And speaking of rudeness, look at how he has his nose stuck up in the air like he’s all that and a bag of doggy treats, too. Which he is not! He is a snooty squirrel in bulldog territory. 

Then that squirrel rudely began a staredown, trying to intimidate us. “Intimidate” is a human word meaning “bulldoggy”. He has probably finished all the green pecans on that tree and thinks we should plant another one just for him. Well, no way!

We engaged in an eyeball battle for the ages. Jerky stared and stared, but I was not intimidated. You can’t bulldog a bulldog. Our big old eyes don’t look away so easily. Finally, he wised up and left in defeat. Bulldogs rule.

Maybe next time he will think twice before starting a staredown contest with me. Maybe next time, I will fly up into a tree and do paw to paw combat with him.

As the humans say, stay tuned.

Signed, Wartior Queen Stella

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

What’s In The Bag? – Conversations with Stella

I am here with Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge and, lest I forget, their Queen.

Stella:    Thank you, Lady Human, for giving me my due.

Me:        No prob, Bob.

Stella:    Who is Bob? Is he another bulldog?

Me:        Nevermind.

Stella:    What was in that bag you brought in awhile ago?

Me:        Just some special food for tonight.

Stella:    I smelled it. It is wonderful.

Me:        I noticed you working your nose.

Stella:    Did you really think that you could sneak it past me? What is it?

Me:        Barbeque beef brisket, barbeque ribs, potato salad, fried okra. That’s all.

Stella:    That’s enough. I’ll take mine right over here.

Me:        Mmmm.  I don’t think the barbeque sauce will be good for you. It might upset your stomach.

Stella:    A risk worth taking.

Me:        Nope. I’ll see if I can pull some pieces out that have no sauce on them.

Stella:    And po-ta-to salad? And fried okra?

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    Awwww.

Me:        Not worth a griping belly. Not worth itchy skin patches.

Stella:    I beg to differ.

Me:        Differ away. Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, those treats that you call chicken bacon jerky, truth be told, there is no bacon in them.

Stella:    Yes, there is.

Me:        No, there isn’t.

Stella:    What? Not fair! Where is the bacon?

Me:        Not in those treats. Just chicken.

Stella:    It cannot be.

Me:        It is. But if knowing that fact means that you don’t like them anymore, I can always give them to the others…

Stella:    NO! That won’t be necessary. I will make the sacrifice and eat them, even without the bacon.

Me:        You don’t have to.

Stella:    It is all right. I will force myself to choke them down. By the way, do you have any of those handy?

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME and my sister, Snoopey – Stella’s Blog

Yay! It is my birthday. Lady Human told me so. She thought it was months ago, but Tall Man showed her a paper that says it is today! I am so excited, but I don’t know why. I didn’t even know what a birthday was until she told me. I just figured that I had always been.

Oh, and since Snoopey is my sister, it is her birthday, too. Apparently, puppy sisters are born at the same time. But that is not the important point. The important point is that it’s MY BIRTHDAY!

The humans count off a certain number of days and declare that to be a year and every year on the same day, they have a birthday. And so do bulldogs. I do not understand what time is or what they call calendars. I don’t believe bulldogs need such things. Every day is special. Every day is a new beginning. When the sun comes into the morning sky, all things start over.  Things happened before, but they are not as important as what is happening right now.

And right now, it’s MY BIRTHDAY!

Lady Human says that I am three years old. That does not sound like much. I think I have been around for at least 100 years,whatever a year is. (I still don’t understand that part.)  She says that I have been here with her for a little over one year.  That can’t be right. I don’t remember much about the days before I came here.It seems so long ago. Maybe those days were not as significant. Maybe I was too young to understand them.

But none of that matters because it’s MY BIRTHDAY!

So what else does a birthday mean?

Lady Human says that some humans put special shiny hats and collars and clothes on their dogs, but she is not going to do that to us. Good! It is too hot for extra clothes right now. She says that some humans give their dogs special cakes, but our tummies are too bulldog delicate for that.

She is giving all of us extra treats, good ones like sweet potato chips and chicken bacon jerky which are our favorites.

Why the non-birthday bulldogs are getting extra treats alongside us birthday girls, I don’t understand. Lady Human says it is a celebration and besides, she doesn’t know when Wiggles’ birthday is and she doesn’t want Wiggles to miss out. I guess that’s all right as long as I get my fair share. By fair share, I mean double what everyone else gets.

(And even Moon the Cat is getting her cat treats. Why? It’s not her birthday. This is a bulldog party. No cats! Oh, nevermind. I can be generous one day a year, whatever that is.)

So to everyone out there in the world, HAPPY MY BIRTHDAY! You can have your own treats, even cake if you like and it won’t hurt your stomachs. And you can sing happy songs, too. It doesn’t matter to me. I won’t hear you.

I will be thinking about my treats and how Lady Human sang to us because we are unique and I will be dreaming of my birthday next year, whatever year means. I hope it comes tomorrow.

Signed,

Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges (and Sister Snoopey who is not the Queen)

 

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.

 

 

 

My Heavy Crown – Stella’s Blog

As Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, I, Stella McStarFace the First, have many responsibilities.

  1. I have to guard all of my toys to make sure they aren’t misappropriated. Misappropriated is a long word that Lady Human taught me. It means stolen by bulldogs.
  1. I have to complain – loudly, using my outdoor voice in an inappropriate manner so I get maximum attention. Inappropriate is another of Lady Human’s long words. She uses those words when she stands in front of the bulldogs and talks and talks and talks, usually after someone has caused a riot or a ruckus. The speeches are pretty boring, but they increase my vocabulary so I don’t complain about them. Much. Usually I just drift off into a nap.

So what, you may ask, do I have to complain about? That list is lengthy and the                         subject for another blog post. In fact, I should include that list in a conversation with             Lady Human. That will save time. How do the humans put it? Kill two cats with one               stone.

           (Transcriptionist: No, not cats. The old expression is…oh, nevermind.)

Please ignore any interruptions by my staff. To continue –

           3. I have the primary responsibility for chasing Moon the Cat. Oh, the others pretend                 that they will, but when they come face to face with her, what do they do? They                       stare and walk on by, leaving all the real chasing for me. It is quite lazy of them and               selfish to boot. As much as I enjoy cat-chasing, the whole weight of it should not                   fall on me and my heavy head.

4. I am the bulldog representative to the humans, not just for complaining even                          though that is the most fun. The humans are pretty clueless and I let them know                    what needs to be done, such as when we need treats, and more treats, and                                  different types of treats, and more of those treats, too. I am also the taste-tester                    for all new treats. Unless it has my royal approval, it doesn’t get shared with the                      others. Of course, I don’t mind finishing off the rejects.

I am sure that I have other queenly responsibilities, but I don’t know what they are so I don’t care. Right now, I am going to exercise my prerogative to take a long nap. Being queen is a tiring business.

Signed,

Stella the First, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

The Trophy

Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie still qualify as puppies. They are 9 month old litter mates, rambunctious and wild as…well. ..as young bulldogs. I was going to say March Hares, but bulldogs probably would not appreciate being compared to any variety of rabbit. They would admire their speed, but rabbits don’t possess those iconic bulldog fangs, something of which the bulldogs are justly proud.

A favorite game of theirs is to grab the scruff of the other’s neck, a particularly loose area of skin on bulldogs. One will grip the other, usually while they are in full gallop, Then let the wrestling begin. The grabber pulls the grab-ee down, they roll around for a few minutes and, turnabout being fair play, the grab-ee returns the favor. Doodlebug drags Miss Sweetie across the yard. Miss Sweetie takes her turn doing the same.

The whole game appears rough. It is. And they love it. They are best friends for life and their tit for tat is continually forgiven.

But Miss Sweetie may have gone a little too far during one of their games.

When it was time for them to come in from play to avoid the brutal heat, I opened the back door and Doodlebug rushed in, sans his new collar. Great. Okay. The search was on.

 

It didn’t take long. Out in the yard, refusing to come in, was Miss Sweetie with Doodlebug’s collar hanging from her mouth. I caught up with her and retrieved the stolen collar. Its latch was broken. She had grabbed him, not by the scruff of his neck, but by his collar. So much easier.

Her powerful jaws had cracked one side of the latch and she let her brother go, preferring to keep his collar as a trophy of victory. Doodlebug is stronger than she is and it is rare that she comes out on top in their contests.

Still, to her credit, she never gives up. This time she came away with something to prove her triumph.

Trophies are iffy things. Not everyone who has one deserves it.

I am reminded by Doodlebug’s broken collar –

It’s not much of a trophy if I tore it out of the rightful owner’s hands.

It’s not a victory if I claimed what was not mine.

It’s not a true victory if I didn’t play by the rules. (2 Timothy 2:5)

Did Miss Sweetie compete lawfully according to bulldog rules? I don’t know. They have not deigned to include me on those details. Perhaps someday I will understand them.

 

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.

 

 

Please Walk With Me, Not Against Me – Conversations with Stella

I am here once again with Stella, QUEEN of the Olde English Bulldogges…

Stella:   Thank you for remembering to mention my proper title.

Me:        How could I forget? Training bulldogs to walk on a lead or leash has been a greater challenge than I had expected.

Stella:   Wait! When you bring out the leash, I get all excited and it has been training? As in…yuck…obedience training?

Me:        Uh, yeah. Not that obedience has had much to do with it. I do enjoy taking you places and walking with you, but, thus far, I consider my leash training efforts to have been a failure.

Stella:   Let’s see. How would you put it? YEAH, DUH, WE’RE BULLDOGS!

Me:        If I could do it safely, I would let all of you out with no leashes. But someplaces, like those state parks where we camped, won’t allow that at all, and some places, like public sidewalks, aren’t safe for you.

Cars rush by. Strange dogs are running around.

Stella:   Strange dogs? What is strange about them? Just how strange are they? Do they have eight legs? Do they fly?

Me:        (sigh) Strange as in unfamiliar to you.  Regular dogs you have not met and that haven’t met you.

Stella:   Well, all right. If you say so. You would tell me if there were such unusual dogs, wouldn’t you?

Me:        If I learn of dogs that fly or dogs that run on eight legs…

Stella:   Spider Dogs.

Me:        Spider Dogs. Yes, I will warn you in advance. In fact, I might just stay home all the time with you.

Stella:   You could still brave it to go buy more treats when we run low.

Me:        Thanks, Stella, I would risk encountering monster dogs to go pick up your treats.

Stella:   I know. And that is one of the reasons why I love you, Lady Human.

Me:        Back to leash training. When you bulldogs “walk” on a leash, you don’t walk with me. You pull me or you veer off in a perpendicular direction, left or right.

Stella:   I don’t know where this “perpendicular” is, but you are right. We pretty much go whichever way we want. As for pulling, doesn’t that help you speed up your walking?

Me:        I have to speed up to walk with you. Any of you. But that’s not my goal as much as keeping myself upright and not kissing the pavement.

Stella:   Pavement kissing is not your favorite thing?

Me:        I don’t do it voluntarily.

Stella:   I do pavement sniffing all the time and I rather like it.

Me:        Two totally different activities by two totally different creatures. Can we please work on walking in the same direction with you walking beside me and not pulling me from the front or from the side?

Stella:   We can work on it. Not making any promises. I can’t deny my nature.

Me:        But you can curb it.

Stella:   Curbs. Yes. I totally understand curbs.

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”  (Amos 3:3 KJV)

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Poop and Patience

Eventually, if you talk about dogs long enough, you will come to the subject of poop. Yes, we humans refer to this as bathroom talk. I only bring it up now because for months we have been working with Miss Sweetie to view the whole of outdoors as her bathroom and indoors as off limits for that type of activity.

It has been a challenge, a long battle, and on various weeks, we thought we had won the fight, only to have a setback, a retreat, if you will, into old bad habits. You see, at a mysterious point in her young life, Miss Sweetie had a crate accident and came to associate her crate with her bathroom.

Solitary trips outside without the other dogs helped. When she is outside with the others, it is time for play-play, not poo-poo, and she never gets down to business.

After months of training, we still have the occasional incident. It seems that Miss Sweetie does not want to bother us by asking to be let out, so she silently takes care of her needs indoors, usually in her crate. We have tried the cleaning solutions, putting her food in her crate, lavish, instant praise, and other suggestions by internet dog poop gurus, and things are going much better.

Still, poop happens.

I walk around outside with Miss Sweetie, just the two of us, so that there are no bulldog distractions. Every morning, you can hear me encouraging her, saying words I never intended in my life to say to anyone.

“Poop! Go ahead. You can poop. You can do it. Anytime now. It’s fine. Just pick your favorite spot. Or a new spot. Any spot. Poop. This is your time.This is your moment.”

I sincerely hope no one is within earshot during these sessions.  I can hear them now. “There goes that poor woman who thinks she has to talk her dog into pooping.”

After minutes…and minutes…and minutes of sniffing, visiting with the chickens, taste-testing new sticks, pointing her smooshy face skyward to catch the latest scent on the wind, Miss Sweetie ambles away from me, on a poop quest at last, and secretly I rejoice.

So what have I learned from this?

That if I want people to be patient with me, I need to be patient with them.

 That some things can’t be rushed.

That it’s perfectly all right not to be in a hurry.

That while I do not want to smell poop, I need to slow down and smell the morning air.

That I can wait for my first cup of coffee/tea a few more minutes.(Flexibility is good. I’m not going to die.)

That not everything responds instantly to my command. (Who do I think I am anyway?And what am I rushing off to? Get real. It is probably no more interesting than waiting for a dog to poop.)

I keep coming back to this:

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting                                  nothing. (James 1:4 KJV)

 

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.

 

When You Don’t Know What to Say, Pray – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella. I am an Olde English Bulldogge. In fact, I am their queen. For those who don’t know me, that was my introduction.  My question today is

The humans are sad. Why?

Me:        Something terrible took place last night not many miles from where we are.

Stella:    I don’t understand.  How far is “miles”? Did it happen in our backyard?

Me:        No, but it feels as though it did.

Stella:    Did it happen to us?

Me:        As hard as this may be for you to comprehend, it happened to all of us.

Stella:    I don’t feel different. And when I woke up this morning, I counted and all of us were here, bulldogs and humans. Even the cat.

Me:        Not every family can say that.

Stella:    Tell me the truth. Did some bulldogs get loose and run wild?

Me:        No, nothing like that.

Stella:    So it is not our fault?

Me:        No.

Stella:    That is a relief. I always feel guilty when dogs cause a problem. I want to stop problems, not cause them.

Me:        Me, too.

Stella:    Was it a storm? Because those can cause problems and I don’t know how to stop them either.

Me:        It was like a storm, but humans caused it.

Stella:    But humans don’t like storms! Why would humans cause one?

Me:        Hatred. Confusion. Mistrust. Do you remember when Tiger came to us and why?

Stella:    Yes, a dog attacked Tiger and hurt her so badly that she almost crossed over. Was what happened last night like that, but it was not done by dogs, but by humans?

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    But humans are supposed to have more understanding than we do. Humans are supposed to know better.

Me:        We don’t apparently. Not by a long shot.

Stella:    But the Great Creator put humans in charge and we are all subject to you. Stop the human-made storms! What are you going to do?

Me:        Pray. And keep praying. Never stop. Even if things look all right. Ask the LORD and obey what He says. And never give up. Never. Never. Never.

Stella:    What can I do?

Me:        Be yourself, Stella. That’s what God created you to do.

Stella:    How can that help?

Me:        We need to smile again. And laugh. That’s another part of this life that God has given us. And that, Stella, is where you come in.

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”  (James 3:3 KJV)

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Why Are You Sticking Your Tongue Out at Me? – Conversations with Stella

I have a question for Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge…

Stella:   Queen!

 Me:        Whatever. Why do bulldogs stick out their tongues?

Stella:   Tongues need fresh air. It is a bulldog thing. Other dogs do it. Bulldogs do it best.

Me:        But why?

Stella:   Don’t humans stick their tongues out?

Me:        Only to lick our lips or to be rude.

Stella:   How is sticking your tongue out rude?

Me:        To humans, it means something like, ‘I don’t care what you think. In your face.’

Stella:   How is that rude?

Me:        Believe me. When humans do it, it’s rude. It’s the attitude behind it.

Stella:   I have no attitude behind sticking my tongue out. I do it because it feels good to me and it cools me off a little and it is a bulldog move and I am proud to be a bulldog.

Me:        All right. I understand. What about when you stick your tongue out while you are sunbathing, which I have observed you are doing on a regular basis now. You never used to sunbathe.

Stella:   My tongue can use a little sun, too.

Me:        Aren’t you concerned that your tongue may get sunburnt?

Stella:   Nope. Bulldog tongues are tough. The sun would never dare to burn our tongues.

Me:        What would happen if it did?

Stella:   We would have to attack that old sun and lick it until we put it out.

Me:        A huge pack of bulldogs attacking the sun. I can imagine that.

Stella:   Are we getting back on that imagining thing?

Me:        It would take a large effort from NASA.

Stella:   What is NASA? Is that a bulldog group?

Me:        In a way. Keep sticking your tongue out, Stella.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bulldogs Stink!- Conversations with Stella

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

Me:        Or simply Stella, as I like to call her.

Stella:   I am not simply Stella. I am not simple at all.

Me:        All right, complex Stella, what do you want to talk about?

Stella:   You and Tall Man were spraying water everywhere this afternoon. Why?

Me:        We were giving Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie baths. We put an attachment on the hose that sprayed water all around them, head to tail. It makes washing the soap off easier.

Stella:   You wasted your time and your water.

Me:        Really? I think they smell a whole lot better than they did.

Stella:   Nope, not so much.

Me:        We used some nice vanilla-scented shampoo.

Stella:   Wasted.

Me:        We scrubbed their hair and rinsed them with lots of clean water.

Stella:   Wasted.

Me:        Now I’m disappointed.

Stella:   Have you seen how they roll around in the dirt? And in other stuff?

Me:        I thought that was an accident.

Stella:   Nope. Stinky dogs like stinky stuff.

Me:        You don’t stink.

Stella:   Nope. I am a bulldog, not a stinkpot.

Me:        Maybe if we give them another bath in a few days.

Stella:   Nope!  Waste! If you want to save water and the environment, don’t bother bathing Doodlebug or Miss Sweetie.

Me:        But if we don’t bathe Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie, we won’t be saving OUR environment.

Stella:   Good point. Carry on. But don’t trust to hope. It has abandoned these lands.

Me:        So what should we do?

Stella:   Do what any sensible bulldog does. Take your paw and put it over your nose.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Push Away the Hand that Feeds You

Imagine being blind and deaf and an orphan. You are only a few hours old. Smell, touch, and taste are the only senses that guide you. Your mouth craves something warm to suckle, but there is nothing within reach. There should be someone; your instincts tell you that, but that someone is unable to care for you, and why does not matter.

Warmth takes hold of you, not pleasant and pillowy, but skinny, bony, and grasping. You strain and wriggle against it, but it won’t let you go. It presses a strange softness against your mouth. You fight that, too. It is not as soft as it should be.  It doesn’t smell right. Finally, you give up and open your lips to receive an odd liquid and your suckling instinct kicks in. The liquid does not taste quite right either, but it fills your hungry belly and now you can sleep.

All of us have been helpless. No one likes it. It is frightening. The funny thing is that often, when help comes, we resist it because we misunderstand. The help does not look like what we expected. Our instincts rebel.

I have watched tiny, un-mothered puppies fight the offer of a bottle nipple full of milk because it does not smell the way their brains say it should smell, or because there is no warm body behind it. Patience wears down the resistance though. The puppies’ survival instinct and hunger win the argument. The little dogs accept the help.

I have fought God more than once. He extended His help to me, His wisdom, His way of doing things, and I didn’t recognize it. It didn’t look, smell, or taste like what I expected or thought that I wanted. Other times, I recognized that God was behind the proffered help, but I didn’t like the shape of His solution. While I refused His help, I only delayed my own deliverance.

So what have I learned from dogs?

A wise puppy latches on even if that bottle is not his first choice.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46:1 KJV)

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.