Flying Stella, Squirrel Fighter – Welcome Back, Squirrels! – Stella’s Blog

Here I am again! Flying Stella, Squirrel Fighter, ready to right all wrongs and chase all squirrels!

Welcome back, Jerky McSquirrelyFace, you old rascal! Thought you could outsmart me, did you? Well…okay, you did outsmart me for a little while, but Lady Human discovered your trick and she let me in on where you have been hanging out.

And I hear that you have brought your girlfriend with you this time. The more the merrier. Wait! Does this mean that there will be a litter of puppy squirrels around here?

(Transcriptionist: Probably, but maybe not before next spring.)

 Noooo! No puppy squirrels!

(Transcriptionist: Baby squirrels are not puppies. They are kittens.)

 Double Noooo!!! How can that be? How can squirrels be cats?

(Transcriptionist: They are not cats. Their babies are just called kittens. Hey, I thought you were going to tell a Flying Stella story. This is more like one of our conversations.)

Silence, human!!

(Transcriptionist: If you want me to be silent, stop screaming and stop asking me questions. Save all that for another day.)

Cats, huh. I see their plan now. They are going to join up with Moon the Cat. She has probably been spying for them the whole time. Of course, Moon the Cat never goes outside so how does she pass messages to them? Perhaps by eye blinks through the windows. THAT’S IT! That’s how Jerky always knew where to be to rain nuts down on our heads. Moon the Cat warned him so he could be ready. Clever cat and clever cat squirrels.

(Transcriptionist: Nope.)

This is a terrible danger to the world of bulldogs. Cats on the ground and on top of furniture, counters, washing machines, and pianos. And cat squirrels jumping and climbing trees and fences, running, flying from tree to tree, not to mention scampering across rooftops like little scamps. And all in cahoots with each other.

Now more than ever I must hone my bulldog skills, especially flying.

(Transcriptionist: Since when is flying a bulldog skill?)

Stay alert, bulldogs! And you humans, too! I will keep you informed as the details of the cat/squirrel conspiracy unfold. Until then, I remain

Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Two Long Ears and a Tiny Step of Faith

Our old rabbit, Moo-Moo, died today. She came to us because her previous owner, a 5-year-old boy, had an allergic dad. That was particularly sad because it was his dad who had gotten Moo-Moo for the boy to begin with.

They named her Moo-Moo because she was black and white and reminded the boy of a Holstein cow.

My daughter called me, hoping that I would be able to take the rabbit in. The request came at a bad time. I was minimally employed. The thought of taking on another expense twisted in my stomach. These were the pre-bulldog years, but still we had Susie the Welsh Corgi, Moon the part-Siamese cat, and a yellow parakeet named Buddy.

The boy’s father had checked with all the local shelters. No one had room for even one more bunny. My daughter said that the dad had built a three-story “condominium” for Moo-Moo (that’s bunny stories, not human stories -still pretty impressive). And the rabbit was litter box trained.

I was on my way home from one of my part-time jobs when my daughter called. I told her I would think about it and get back to her quickly, one way or the other.

The boy didn’t want to give the rabbit up. His heart was probably breaking. That’s all that I could think about on the drive home. How unhappy that would have made me. How he might be tempted to be angry with his father even though it wasn’t the father’s fault. How he might worry about where Moo-Moo would end up and what would happen to her.

What was the current price of rabbit food? Could I commit the room for a 3-story rabbit hutch? Did I need to take on another pet?

I did not know the father or the boy. I had never met either of them and I never have. I had no personal obligation to take on the animal or solve their re-homing problem.

And then I saw myself as the small, stingy, doubt-filled person I had become. If I couldn’t commit to take in a rabbit, a litter-trained rabbit with a 3-story condominium no less, what could I do? Before I even got home, I called my daughter back and told her Moo-Moo could come live with us. But, I added, be sure and bring the condo.

Being a rabbit, Moo-Moo was quiet though, early on, we almost renamed her “Thumper”. She expressed definite opinions about my volume level in the house. If I laughed too loudly at a comedy show or sang aloud, she thumped the floor of her condo violently. It was her rabbit version of an old-fashioned librarian putting her finger to her lips and shushing an unruly patron.

Among the bulldogs, Miss Sweetie had the closest rapport with Moo-Moo. They touched noses and carried on silent conversations. Miss Sweetie circled the rabbit condo with Moo-Moo keeping pace inside of it, a bulldog-rabbit race that went on until one or the other of them tired out.

Eventually Miss Sweetie would collapse with her back against the outside of the condo and Moo-Moo would skip up to the third floor of her rabbit home to take a rest.

It was Miss Sweetie who let me know that something was amiss this morning.  I had given Moo-Moo’s water and food a cursory look as I went about morning chores. Moo-Moo was stretched out as she usually was in the morning, right next to her nesting box on her condo’s third floor. About an hour later, Miss Sweetie had placed her paws on the condo and lifted herself up to sniff at Moo-Moo who had not shifted her position at all.

Miss Sweetie never reached up to the third floor because Moo-Moo always came down to her level to play. It was as though the bulldog was asking why her friend had not started their playtime.

And that’s when I knew.

I carefully picked up Moo-Moo’s body with Miss Sweetie watching. “She’s left. That’s all.” It was the only thing that I could think to say. Miss Sweetie looked at Moo-Moo and then walked away.

No one who lives on this earth avoids facing the fact of death.

Animals are sensitive to it. When my Corgi, Susie, died in our utility room while everyone was out of the house, our cat, Moon, would not walk into the room for the next 6 months. When one of our chickens died suddenly last spring, Snoopey, who always stays right beside me in the yard, would not approach the chicken run with me. She stayed far back, just watching.

That’s why I made sure that Miss Sweetie saw Moo-Moo as I took the body away. Moo-Moo was gone, but she didn’t just disappear. She left.

If I could, if I knew where the father and son who had to give up Moo-Moo were, I would let them know these things:

She lived a good, long time.

I think, I hope she enjoyed herself.

That 3-story rabbit condominium was genius and it held up well. She got lots of exercise jumping up and down the levels. It helped her stay healthy.

She had friends and at least one of them was a bulldog.

She laid down one night and peacefully went to sleep. She showed no pain. She felt no fear.

She will be remembered and she will be missed.

She helped me take a tiny step of faith which helped me take others.

And someday, we won’t experience death anymore.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:5 KJV

Amen.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

No Treats for the Wicked – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, will begin this conversation. I just witnessed something truly disturbing.

Me:        A giant insect? A giant lizard?

Stella:    No, worse. Why was the cat getting treats?

Me:        I give her cat treats every now and then.

Stella:    Why was the cat getting treats?

Me:        Because I wanted her to have something special.

Stella:    Why was the cat getting treats?

Me:        Sounds like your record is broken.

Stella:    No treats for cats!

Me:        I don’t give her your treats.

Stella:    What did she do to earn them?

Me:        She was just being herself.

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Stella:    That is simply wrong! She is a cat! You know how they are!

Me:        Well, what do you do to earn most of your treats?

Stella:    Not important!

Me:        Why can’t I give the cat treats just because I want to?

Stella:    Because CAT! Cats don’t deserve treats!

Me:        We get good things we don’t deserve and we don’t get some hard things that we do deserve.  We call that grace, both ways. Grace can’t be earned.

Stella:    Would you give me some grace?

Me:        When you say the word ‘grace’, you are really thinking about treats, aren’t you?

Stella:    When I say any word, I am always thinking about treats.

Me:        All you had to do was ask, Stella.

Stella:    Wait! Grace doesn’t mean a cat treat, does it?

Me:        No, I wouldn’t fool you like that. That wouldn’t be gracious.

“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?…how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?”  Matthew 7:9-11 KJV

 

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.

 

 

What Were You Dreaming About? – Conversations with Stella

Stella:    Hello. I am Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge, here with Lady Human again. Why? I don’t know.

Me:        I was watching you sleep a while ago.

Stella:    That is creepy. Do you stare at the others while they are sleeping?

Me:        Occasionally, but I was watching you because you were obviously dreaming and I have never seen a dog so active during sleep.

Stella:    What was I doing?

Me:        Your hind legs pumped as though you were running. One even jumped off the ground. Your eyelids twitched. You ruffled your lips. You huffed and puffed like you were out of breath and your sides bellowed in and out. Then your ears perked up, shifting back and forth. Your front legs stayed still, but that was the only part of you that was not engaged in whatever was going on in your head. So what was your dream?

Stella:    I was wearing a crown because, you know…queen. I ran up a grassy hill, leading my people, the bulldog army. We were so many. We charged the cat because she had taken and hidden all of our treats.

Me:        A whole bulldog army to chase one cat?

Stella:    As the humans say, we meant business. Our treats had disappeared! They had to be rescued!

Me:        Rescued so that they could be eaten by you?

Stella:    Not all eaten by me. Most of them, yes because, you know…queen.

Me:        So how did the battle go?

Stella:    It was exciting! I was in the lead because…

Me:        Yeah, I know…queen.

Stella:    Now you understand. Anyway, I was running, but a bulldog with longer legs…I think it was Snoopey but it all happened so fast… passed me and others passed me and so I jumped over them. I tilted my ears left and right to direct which way the army would go. At the top of the hill I found the cat. I ruffled an order for her to leave the treats and depart. She pretended that she did not understand me and just sat licking herself as though she didn’t care. The treats were in a basket behind her. I was about to grab them with my big bulldog mouth when…I woke up. I was at home. There was no army. There were no treats. It was just a dream. Unless…

Me:        Unless what?

Stella:    You make my dream come true.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Wear a Cat on Your Head – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, the Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, here to share my royal thoughts with you again.

Me:        Royal thoughts? Really? Is that what they are?

Stella:    I am a queen, thus my thoughts are royal.  Do you envy me?

Me:        No, I’m fine with being a human commoner.

Stella:    Why were you letting the cat sit on your head today?

Me:        What are you talking about? The cat did not sit on my head today or any other day.

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Stella:    I saw her. You were wearing her like a hat.

Me:        No, no, no. She was lying down on the top of my easy chair above my head. From where you sat, it probably looked as though she was on top of my head, but I do not wear cats as hats.

Stella:    She thought she was your hat. I saw her slap your face with her tail more than once.

Me:        That was funny.

Stella:    Cats are never funny. Odd.  Weird. Catlike. Sinister. But never funny. I would not let a cat slap me in the face with her tail, not even once. They get ideas. What if she decided she belonged there? What if she decided that she lived there?They think they are in charge of things. No cat would ever dare to be in charge of a bulldog, I tell you what.

Me:        I have no doubt, Stella.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversations with Stella – The Battering Ram

Stella and I are hashing out one of my issues today, not that I expect to get far with it.

Stella:   What does that mean? “Get far with it.” Does that mean you are going on a camping trip far away? Noooo!!! Not without me! I hate camping. I still don’t understand why we do it, but I want to go if you are.

Me:        That’s so sweet, Stella!

Stella:   Not sweet. I get bored when you are not around.

Me:        Still sweet. I must be a little bit interesting if you get bored without me.

Stella:   You throw the bouncy toys in the yard.

Me:        You don’t like the bouncy toys.

Stella:   I know, but you make the effort anyway.

Me:        What about Tall Man?

Stella:   He is not a bouncy toy sort of human. He is a walk around sort of human. When you are not here, we just walk around, looking at stuff. Who needs to look at what we have already seen? And he won’t let us play the cat chasing game.

Me:        Ah, you admit it at last. It is all a game. It is not about catching the cat at all.

Stella:   Who would actually want to catch a cat? Yuck!

Me:        On to my question. When you come in from outside, why must you ram the door the second that I open it? You knock past me every time. Even when I get down close to your face and tell you to enter calmly, you blow in like the last thunderstorm, do your Stella Hop around the room, and only then do you settle down.

Stella:   I don’t understand the problem.

Me:        You hit the door like a battering ram. In fact, the ancient Romans could have used you on some of their military campaigns. I have tried to stop you. I set myself against the door and open it slowly and BAM! Here you come blasting in.

Stella:   I don’t understand the problem.

Me:        All the other bulldogs WALK through the door, sometimes a little fast, but still they walk in.

Stella:   When they walk in, they are not being bulldogs. I am a bulldog. I am Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges as I have made abundantly clear on many occasions. I don’t simply enter a room. I make my presence known. Everybody knows when Stella is in the building.

Me:        Could you maybe be a little less bulldoggy when you come in?

Stella:   Less bulldoggy? NEVER!

Me:        Well, you heard it from the dog’s mouth. Until next time, farewell from me and Stella the Battering Ram.

Stella:   Hmmph!  That’s Queen Stella to you, Lady Human! And do not forget it!

Me:        How could I?

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Conversations with Stella – We’re Melting!

Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge, is here with me to have some questions answered about yesterday’s meltdown of the air conditioning.

Stella: Meltdown. Yes. That’s what it was. We were melting. Let’s not do that again. I didn’t like it.

Me: No one liked it.

Stella: The cat liked it. She was not panting. She makes me so mad.

Me: I personally have never seen a cat pant. And she was hot, too. Did you hear her meowing at me and see how she spread herself flat. That was her way of cooling off until the window unit got going.

Stella: The cat was yelling at you. We bulldogs were not yelling at you. Although I wanted to.

Me: Well, it wasn’t like it was planned.

Stella: Humans are in charge. How could it not be planned?

Me: Humans are not in charge of everything all the time. Even the stuff humans make can stop working.

Stella: Why?

Me: Parts wear out. They are not designed to last forever.

Stella: Why?

Me: Well, because they are made by humans and we don’t have the forever thing worked out yet. The Bible says in Psalm 102 that the heavens and the earth will wear out like a garment, but God will endure. The heavens and the earth have been around for a long time. He knows how to make things that last.

Stella: Can He make our A SEE last?

Me: Our air conditioner? If God were in the a/c business, He would make one that would last, I’m sure.

Stella: Is the A SEE fixed yet?

Me: Not yet. The window unit will get us all through until it is. The back part of the house is pretty warm right now so we won’t be spending a whole lot of time back there.

Stella: Oh, oh, let’s call God and ask Him to get into the A SEE business!

Me: He lets humans make machines. He set up the seasons. We have cooler weather in autumn, winter, and spring. Summer is a little more challenging for us. Remember, all of our ancestors, yours and ours, lived long lives without any air conditioning until this last century. None of my own schools were air conditioned until I went to college.

Stella: How did you all stand it?

Me: By the grace of God, we endured.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

Stella’s Blog – Things that Make Me Mad

Hello. I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and I have a few complaints.

(Transcriptionist: As usual.)

Hey, this is my blog. Stick your opinions in your own. This brings me to the first thing that makes me mad – the opinions of others unless they agree with mine. The humans talk about voting all the time. I’m not sure what voting is, but it sounds like someone else’s opinion and, therefore, another thing that would make me mad.

From what the humans say, I perceive that voting means you can choose a thing or a person and someone else can choose differently, and if enough people choose differently from you, YOU LOSE!

I don’t like that. So yes, voting is on my list of things that make me mad. I am the queen; I get to choose.

No voting allowed!

But if we did allow voting in the house, we bulldogs would outnumber the cat. Hmmm. And we could vote her out. That is unless Wiggles voted with the cat just to be “nice”. And then there is Tiger. I have suspected for a long time that Tiger has a secret peace treaty with the cat. Oh, she barks at the cat and stirs the rest of us up, but never have I seen Tiger actually chase the cat. Hmmm.

Then the other day, I watched Snoopey as she walked right up to the cat while the cat hissed at her and made an ugly face (no, that was her regular face, sorry). And what did Snoopey do? She TURNED AROUND AND WALKED AWAY!

I may not be able to count on the bulldog vote after all. So it is certain. Voting is one thing that makes me mad.

(Transcriptionist: Besides, the humans hold the power to veto.)

Veto? That sounds suspicious, like something else that would make me mad.

And I haven’t even gotten to other maddening things that I put on my list – things like:

  • Moon the Cat
  • The rule against cat chasing
  • Limitation of treats to only a few times a day
  • Wiggles getting more reward treats than the rest of us

(Transcriptionist: Because she earns more than the rest of you.)

Enough for this time. I will go back to work on my mad list. I can’t do anymore now. I am just so…so…so mad!

Signed, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 [Transcriptionist’s note: Stella has gone to cool down and chew on her Nylabone. Meanwhile, we will close with this:

  “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”  (Ephesians 4:26 KJV)]

 

No Screeching, Please! – Conversations with Stella

The Olde English Bulldogge known as Stella has a bone to pick with me so we’ll begin our conversation:

Stella:   Bone? Where’s a bone?

Me:        There is no bone. That’s just a human expression.

Stella:   Oh, as usual, humans playing jokes, trying to fool the poor old bulldogs. First dressing up as giant insects, now teasing us with non-existent bones.

Me:        Let’s not get into that giant insect thing again. I had hoped that you had forgotten about that.

Stella:   A giant insect does not fade from the memory.

Me:        Obviously not.

Stella:   I thought you had seen one and that is why you were screeching.

Me:        Screeching? I haven’t screeched about anything. What are you talking about?

Stella:   That horrible, high-pitched noise that was coming out of your mouth this morning. It hurt my ears so much; I wanted to cover them up.

Me:        I haven’t been screeching, Stella. I don’t know what you are talking about….unless…I found an old songbook that I had when I was little and I was singing out of it.

Stella:   Is a songbook one of those dead flat things that you hold on your lap and stare at and it causes you to pay no attention to us?

Me:        Well, yes, that or a regular book or a cell phone or a computer…

Stella:   Just because you found an old, dead songbook that you had when you were a puppy is no reason to screech in our ears over it.

Me:        Did my singing bother the others, too?

Stella:   Who cares? It bothered me.

Me:        I am sorry. I do enjoy singing sometimes.

Stella:   I enjoy chewing on a good stick sometimes, but I don’t pretend to be one of those humans who…Awwwww, you know, they take sticks and build boxes and stuff.

Me:        A carpenter? A craftsman?

Stella:   Yeah, those, I guess.

Me:        I don’t pretend to be a singer. And as for screechy noises, how about that voice you use that is so high-pitched and ear-splitting.

Stella:   You mean the Cat Chasing Song of my people.

Me:        Is that what you call it? It’s a bulldog song?

Stella:   It tells the bulldogs within ear range that there’s a cat afoot and it’s time to play.

Me:        So why are you allowed to sing all screechy and I am not?

Stella:   My song serves a purpose; yours, not so much.

Me:        Maybe we should both agree to cover our ears when the other one is “singing”.

Stella:   Or we can agree that you will sing silently in your head or buy a good recording of your songs. My song must be sung live and aloud. It is a treasured bulldog tradition.

Me:        Is that why you keep “singing” when I ask you to stop?

Stella:   You wouldn’t want to interfere with a tradition, would you?

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

I Demand to Speak to a Manager – Conversations with Stella

Stella, our opinionated Olde English Bulldogge, has a complaint she wishes to air. So let’s begin the conversation:

Me:        Hi, Stella! What’s the problem?

Stella:   Are you the one in command here? Because I only want to talk to the one in command.

Me:        Well, no bulldog, or cat for that matter, is in command that’s for sure. And “command” is not the best word. This is our home. It is not the army. The humans are in charge here. Why would you doubt that?

Stella:   Because first Snoopey and then Tiger each told me that they are in command. And because Wiggles is always disobeying and doing whatever she wants and she gets by with it because “she is so sweet” and “the sweetest dog ever”. Yuck! What gushy nonsense! Humans are supposed to be smart. How can you fall for that act?

Me:        Wiggles is super sweet. She dances in her comma shape and only wants head pets and neck rubs and the occasional treat.

Stella:   Aagghh! The occasional treat! I think you’ve lost count. But really, IS ANYONE IN CHARGE HERE?

Me:        We humans are. Why?

Stella:   Everything is so chaotic. Nobody is listening. Nobody obeys the rules.

Me:        Nobody? Not even you?

Stella:   Me? Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t know. What was the question?

Me:        You want to know if anyone is in charge. You say that no one obeys the rules. Do you obey the rules?

Stella:   Me? Yes. Well, sometimes. Hmmm. I’m not really clear on what the rules are.

Me:        How about one rule? Is there a rule against chasing the cat?

Stella:   And that’s all the time we have for our conversation today, people…

Me:        Nope. We have plenty of time.

Stella:   But I don’t like that no-cat-chasing rule.

Me:        Not the point.

Stella:   Awwww!

Me:        I understand. Humans have rules set for us, too, and some of them I flat don’t like.

Stella:   So you ignore them.

Me:        No. If they are silly or useless, I may try to get them changed. But some rules are set by God and wisdom tells me that they are good and for my safety and they won’t change. God is God and I am not.

Stella:   Is the no-cat-chasing rule one of God’s rules?

Me:        I wish I could say it is, but no. It’s one of our rules.

Stella:   So about these changeable rules, how do I go about working on that?

Me:        Write your legislator, but I don’t think you’ll get far with that. Bulldogs can’t vote.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J.Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

Stella’s Blog – Hello, Cat! Where Are You?

Hello. I am Stella. I am an Olde English Bulldogge. In fact, I am their Queen. No one elected me. No committee selected me. I selected me.

It was hard sitting around the first two years of my life while no human understood who I really am. During that time, I was not accorded the honors due me as Queen. That was not the fault of my old humans per se. They were ignorant. I wasn’t wearing a crown.

When I came to my new home with my new humans, I made my status clear from the beginning. Once, Tall Man invited me to stay in a dome-shaped house in the backyard. Are you kidding me? There was no television. There was no cat to chase. Did that really look like the palace of a queen? I put on my best “We are not amused” sad face and succeeded in putting a quick end to that nonsense. Tall Man brought back into my main house right away.

I am Queen Stella. Treat me like a queen and give me treats and we will get along fine. Let me say it again. Give me treats!

I have been blogging more lately because I have a lot to say. Humans never stop talking so I figure neither should I. Bulldogs do not exercise their free speech rights often enough.

Anyone who has been around us for long has seen it. Other dogs are barking and the good old bulldog is just sitting there, slump shouldered, panting, maybe burping a little bit (it happens), but otherwise quiet, not saying anything. Every once in a while, we might blow out a lip ruffle simply to let the humans know that we don’t approve of what’s going on. We disapprove of much so the classic bulldog lip ruffle comes in handy.

Which leads me to my List of Offenders which has only two names on it this time:

Lady Human and Moon the Cat

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Lady Human disagrees with me and says humans do not belong on the List of Offenders and I say oh, yes, they do! This time Lady Human seems to be in cahoots with Moon the Cat. I have been looking for the cat in order to chase her and I can’t ever seem to find her. When I ask Lady Human where she is, Lady just smiles and says, “Oh, she’s around.” And then she adds something ridiculous like, “You shouldn’t chase the cat.”

Oh, yes, I should! Do you know what Moon the Cat was doing the past few days? She walked up to each of us bulldogs DURING NAPTIME and meowed right in our faces. Incredibly rude! And I hear new noises sometimes coming from above my head, coming from places I can’t see because I’m not tall enough (bulldog, remember?). I suspect that Moon has new high perches to hide on and spy down on us.

Lady Human thinks it’s funny now, but how funny will it be when the cat pounces down on her from the new high spot. And why does a cat have a perch anyway? She’s not a bird!

But no one listens to me. [deep bulldog sigh] I am only the Queen.

Signed, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Stella’s Blog – Be Nice!

Hello! I have returned to my blog to give you my insight, the wisdom of an Olde English Bulldogge, and please understand that Olde English Bulldogge is my official breed and has nothing to do with my age or nationality. I don’t really know what “nationality” means. I will ask about that another time.

Anyway, my transcriptionist (a.k.a. Lady Human – yes, I am still employing her. I wish I could get someone better, but no one else will work for a dog for free) – she tells me that I am not being NICE to the other dogs or to the cat and that I should try harder to be NICE.

NICE is a human word that does not translate well into dog languages. I am attempting to understand what I am supposed to do, what NICE is, but the best I can grasp to this point from the humans is that NICE means:

“soft”

“no barking”

“no biting”

“no pooping or peeing inside the human house”

“no whining”

“tastes good”

“feels good”

“smells good”

“fits well”

And about a million other things that humans think are important. (No, I do not know how many a million is, but I gather that it is a bunch, like more than all the treats in the world. So I would not mind having a million NICE treats.)

I don’t think that I can be NICE. It is too big a burden for one dog, especially a bulldog.

Soft? My face is smooshy soft, but how does that help the other dogs or Moon the cat.

No barking? That’s simply unreasonable. I AM A DOG! Besides which, THEY STARTED IT!

No biting? Look at my face with that big under bite. I was born to bite. And besides, I have never bitten any human or animal (not that there weren’t a few who deserved it. Just my opinion.) So technically, I am already NICE in this category.

No pooping or peeing inside the human house? But what if I NEED to.  What if it’s NICE for me?

No whining? Awwwww!

Tastes good? Nobody better go taste on me, I tell you what!

Feels good? That’s all right. I am NICE in that category. You can pet me all you want and then some.

Smells good? I admit it. Sometimes I make odors that are not pleasant, even to me, but if I have to be NICE and not make bad smells, then so do the others! How about some NICE smells for me?

Fits well? I can’t help the shape I am. I am a bulldog and there are lots of places that I don’t fit. Like on the floor of that little car we take camping. I tried to fit myself there, but the back seat was much more accommodating. And it is true, I am not a lap dog, but I am still trying. The humans’ laps have just got to get bigger.

The humans are going to have to come up with stuff I can do, stuff that’s not NICE.

Signed,  Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Conversations with Stella – Language Barrier

I’ll jump right into my conversation with Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge, with a question:

Me:        Stella, what in the world did you say to Wiggles that got her so wound up and freaked out?

Stella:   You know Wiggles. You don’t have to say much to her to freak her out.

Me:        But she was more agitated than I have ever seen her. I really want to understand how you all communicate with each other. You weren’t even talking at first…if that whiny weird bulldog type raw raw rah noise can be called ‘talking’…

Stella:   How insulting! Of course, it’s talking!

Me:        I’m never sure.

Stella:   What else would it be?

Me:        High pitched yawning. Low pitched burping.

Stella:   No, those are different. Allow me to demonstrate…

Me:        That’s okay. Not right now. What I witnessed between you two was, first, you calling her over to your crate and Wiggles responding.

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Stella:   Wiggles always does what I say.

Me:        We’ll get into that later. Wiggles was relaxed and then you two shared a silent, nose to nose conversation, no noises, just staring at each other, and Wiggles completely changed. She stood up straight. She hopped around Stella style…

Stella:   Thank you for naming that particular movement after me. I did invent it.

Me:        While I doubt that, calling it the Stella Hop is the easiest way for me to refer to it. Back to the point, you then verbally aimed Wiggles at the cat. What did you say to Wiggles that transformed her in an instant from a laid back, cat-friendly bulldog to a bulging-eyed bundle of nerves?

Stella:   Simple. I said, “Are you a bulldog or a cat? If you’re a bulldog, start acting like one! Now, go chase that cat off the piano!” And that’s when you interfered.

Me:        I am a human. What I do is correction, not interference.

Stella:   Well, it interfered with my plan.

Me:        I calmed her down, that’s all. I just wish I could understand what you all are saying, but the sounds make no sense to me.

Stella:   And you believe humans make sense. You never stop barking. Sit! Come! Go! No! By the way, are those two the same word, just with a different accent? And even after we do what we think you want us to do, you keep barking. It is all so confusing.

Me:        Sort of the way Wiggles was confused when you told her to chase the cat and she didn’t want to or understand why.

Stella:   No, that’s completely different. I can see that we still have a language barrier.

Me:        At least we’re working on it.

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Stella:   Humph! Stupid cat! Why can’t she act more like a bulldog? We outnumber her. You can hear us coming. She pads around on those silly soft feet and all of a sudden, WHOA! She’s right behind you. Hey, did you see where she sneaked into your room and knocked over some of your stuff?

Me:        Yes.

Stella:   You’ll never catch a bulldog knocking your stuff over or…oh…well, never mind.

 

“There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.”

(1 Corinthians 14:10 KJV)

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey! Stop Bossing Me Around!

Only one word described the weather – wet. Excuse me. Let me make that clearer. WET!!!! The bulldogs were bored and their boredom fixated on the cat. Nobody wanted to go outside in all that water and we were taking advantage of pauses in the rain to encourage potty breaks.

Stella usually likes her bed. Again let me make that clearer. Stella LOVES her bed! And with all the down time due to the incessant bad weather, she had been a little cat-centric so she was chilling in her crate. Wiggles had just come back in from outside and was strolling around. Moon the Cat crossed the room and Wiggles trotted behind her for about three paces, then lost interest. The cat assumed her exalted position on top of the piano in serene splendor.

Well, that popped Stella’s cork.

She started whining and escalated to barking, but not at me. She barked to grab Wiggles’ attention and Wiggles ran to her side. Stella proceeded to read Wiggles the bulldog version of the Riot Act, face to face, muzzle to muzzle, nose to nose.

Sweet, calm, “I get along with everybody” Wiggles.

I don’t know what Stella said to Wiggles. I am not fluent in bulldoggese. But whatever it was, it changed Wiggles’ mind and attitude in a heartbeat.

Imagine the scene where a boss screams in the face of an employee for doing or failing to do something that the employee had no idea about, had never thought of, and didn’t even know could be done.

Within seconds, Wiggles jumped to attention, her ears sprang to the top of her head, and she did what I have never seen her do before. She performed a Stella Hop.

A Stella Hop is a sharp, quick jump left or right at about a 90 degree angle an inch or two off the ground with both front legs stiff and locked. She hopped left to face me. She hopped back to the right to face Stella and then repeated the maneuver. It is a high excitement, high energy move for a bulldog, and would be endlessly hilarious if it weren’t so obvious that the dog’s real response is confusion. I imagine that it sounds something like this inside their heads: Help me! Help me! Something is going on and I don’t know what to do. Tell me; please tell me what to do.

Wiggles’ eyes widened, round and bulging. She looked at me for help. Stella had flipped a switch inside her, but Wiggles had no idea what to do. I knew what Stella wanted because I was watching Stella’s gaze toward the piano. She wanted that cat to be chased and no one was accommodating her.

Poor Wiggles did a side take like a cartoon character rushing out of a room, but I called her back. She sat at my feet and I started the calm down process, stroking her head and repeating her name in a low voice. She melted and the real Wiggles showed back up in her face. She leaned her head into my hand and didn’t even seem to care anymore about Stella’s whiny fussing or Tiger’s barky contribution. (Tiger is an experienced cat chase instigator. She doesn’t chase the cat herself. Oh, no, she just gets the others stirred up into doing it.)

And the whole time, Moon the Cat sat on her piano throne from which she could survey her realm, like the true queen of the house.

I would so much like to be able to speak to Wiggles in a way she could understand and tell her not to give in to the bossy voices in the world. There is no shortage of them and being loud and demanding does not make them right. Wiggles, stop listening to the highest volume mouth in the room.

And once again, just like that, I have learned a life lesson from a dog.

 

©2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.