Take Your Feet Out of Your Mouth! – Conversations with Stella

20151220_230434.jpgI am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I have four feet. As does Lady Human.

Me:        Correction. I have two hands and two feet.

Stella:    Same difference.

Me:        Not really. I don’t walk on my hands and toes are not fingers.

Stella:    You are doing the same things with those hands of yours that I do with my feet.

Me:        Specifically?

Stella:    Putting them in your mouth. Take your feet…

Me:        Hands.

Stella:    …out of your mouth.

Me:         To humans, putting your foot in your mouth has a totally different meaning. It means that you have stumbled over your own words.

Stella:     Typical. Humans making words mean what they don’t mean. I saw you! You put those long things…

Me:        Fingers.

Stella:    …in your mouth and you chewed on them.

Me:        Cuticles. I admit it. I chew on my cuticles.

Stella:    Are cuticles the same as feet?

Me:        No, they are the skin around the nails. They get dry. And they stick out. And they get snagged on stuff. And there my teeth are, close by. It’s so easy to just bite them off.

Stella:    Now you are talking bulldog. But still, take your feet out of your mouth. It doesn’t look as good on humans as it does on us.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Things I Don’t Need List, Part 2 – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges…

Me:        To continue with the list of things I don’t need…

Stella:    Exactly.

Me:        What?

Stella:    Your list. We don’t need it.

Me:        To continue…I don’t need anyone chewing on the fencing.

Doodlebug:        Me. That was me.

Me:        I figured that out. I don’t need for the gate to be all torn apart.

Doodlebug:        Oh, I can’t tear it all apart at once. It’s going to take lots of chewing and ripping over a long time.

Me:        Next item. I don’t need for any bulldogs to lick the back door.

Snoopey:   If we don’t do it, who will?

Me:        It doesn’t need licking. It is a door.

Wiggles:   Yes, it is.

Tiger:     A wonderful, lick-able door.

Miss Sweetie:   I prefer the inside.

Me:        No one is listening to me, are they?

Stella:    No. We were listening to the crunchy sound of Doodlebug chewing on the gate.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Freak Out! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges and… what was that?

Me:        What was what?

Stella:    That!

Me:        I don’t hear anything and everything looks normal. What’s going on, Stella? You are all chomping on your play bones like there’s no tomorrow.

Stella:    There’s no tomorrow?

Me:        Well, yes, I believe that there is going to be a tomorrow. Why are you all so freaked out?

Stella:    Wait. Too busy chewing.

Snoopey:   Don’t you feel it, Lady Human?

Me:        If you mean the stress, I do. But we go on with life. Is this about all the hurricane news?

Stella:    Yes. No. Maybe. Wait. More stress chewing needed…Okay. You don’t want us to be stressed out, but you all are stressed, and when the humans are stressed, the bulldogs are stressed. Oh, and the cat, too, but that doesn’t count.

Me:        We are all fine. We are well and we are going to be well. Messages are getting through. Our family and friends down where the hurricane hit are fine. The waters got high but stopped at their doors. Praise the LORD! And now the waters are starting to subside in places. There will be a whole lot of work ahead, but we can do that. There’s been a lot of loss, but we can grieve that…later.

Wiggles:   No, Lady Human! There is water in your eyes! Wait! Chewing on my dinosaur will help you. No! Wait! Let me chew on my dinosaur first.

Doodlebug:   I need two extra bones over here, please.

Miss Sweetie:   You only have one mouth, Doodle. Why do you need three bones?

Doodlebug:        You have three bones.

Miss Sweetie:    That’s different. I like to switch them out. Variety.

Stella:    But this hurricane thing, Lady Human. People have died.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    Animals have died.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    Why?

Me:        Sometimes things happen that are too big for humans to handle. Sometimes we get to thinking that we can do everything by ourselves. Sometimes we get reminded that we can’t. We aren’t even supposed to.

Tiger:     May I switch from stress chewing to stress barking?

Snoopey:   NO! I’m warning you, Tiger, if you start stress barking, I am going to stress bark louder and longer than you! And I’ll win and…

Tiger:     No, I’ll win and you will have to shut up…


Stella:    Lady Human! Really! Do you need to borrow my chew bone? Because I think all humans need chew bones and you certainly do!

Me:        Sorry. No, thanks. But I meant what I said about the stress barking. You hear?

Tiger:     Yes, ma’am.

Snoopey:   Yes, ma’am.

Stella:    Why are you calling her ma’am? You don’t call me ma’am.

Snoopey:   Pfffftt to that!

Tiger:     Double pfffftt!

Wiggles:   I’m freaking out, Lady Human. Can you pet my head?

Me:        Sure.

Wiggles:   Faster. Faster. More. More. More.

Me:        Okay, back to normal mode.

Wiggles:   Aw. There can never be too much head petting.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Shoe Store – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I do not wear shoes. I do not care to. I see no point to them, even as a snack. Snoopey, however, has different tastes. She committed a crime against a pair of Lady Human’s fancy shoes, but, to be honest, Lady Human did not hire a guard to protect her shoes so she deserved it.

Me:        Why would I ever hire a guard for my shoes?

Stella:    You could have set me over them. I don’t snack on shoes and I work cheap.

Me:        I didn’t even know that they were in danger.

Stella:    Snoopey told me that she had been sniffing them for months and, finally, one night, she lost her battle with temptation. As I say, if you had hired me…

Snoopey:   I am sorry that I ate your shoes, Lady Human. As tasty and smelly as they were, I had no right.

Me:        I forgive you, Snoopey. I just don’t know if I can trust you around my shoes again.

Snoopey:   I won’t chew on any of the others. That was my favorite pair. I laid my nose by them every night. Every night, they called my name. They smelled like your feet and like leather and like wherever they had walked.

Me:        I wore them to my daughter’s wedding.

Snoopey:  So that was why they smelled like strange humans and burritos. It must have been a wonderful party.

Me:        You nibbled parts off both soles and all the heels.

Snoopey:   I thought you didn’t need those parts. They didn’t show from the top. Why do you need shoes anyway? And why do you have so many? Humans have at most two feet.

Me:        We wear them to protect our feet. And we wear them to look good, for style.

Stella:    My feet look fine without them. But I have seen human feet. I would cover them up, too.

Wiggles:   Can I have a pair of shoes to chew?

Doodlebug:   Me, too. A really stinky pair. Not dog stinky. Human stinky.

Miss Sweetie:    I just need one shoe. Tiger can have the second one.

Tiger:   Thanks, but I prefer to chew plastic that doesn’t smell like humans.

Me:        Okay, now hear this!

Stella:    That’s my job!

Me:        My shoes are off limits. They are not to be eaten…

Snoopey:   Carried around?

Me:        No.

Wiggles:   Chewed?

Me:        No.

Doodlebug:  Snuffled?

Me:        No.

Miss Sweetie:   Nibbled?

Me:   No.

Stella:   Licked?

Me:        No. Wait. I thought you said you didn’t like shoes.

Stella:    The more I hear them described, the more tempting they become.

Me:        I thought you said you would guard them.

Stella:    Well, I would, from the others.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

When Stressed, Chew on a Dinosaur – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, the Illustrious Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, but none of that matters right now. I am stressed out; therefore, I am chewing on a dinosaur that Lady Human gave me. There is nothing like chewing on a dinosaur to take your mind off your problems.

Me:        And what problems are those, Stella?

Stella:    The neighbor’s dogs barked most of the afternoon. So, of course, we barked. Someone (I assume they were human) kept coming by, probably to sell stuff. Sirens kept going off in the distance. And you were nowhere to be found, Lady Human. Nowhere. To. Be. Found. Whyyyy?

Me:        I was running household errands. They don’t run themselves.

Stella:    Why ever not?

Me:        Physical things must be purchased and picked up physically. Not all things can be done online.

Stella:    Now you are talking nonsense. What is ‘online’? Is that even a place? Why must things be picked up ‘physically’. Why can’t those people who come by selling stuff all the time bring the stuff you need ‘physically’? Whyyyy?

Me:        Let me give you an example. We had only enough dog food to last two more days.

Stella:    What? No!!! I told you not ever to let that happen again!

Me:        We don’t pick up new food until the old food is almost out. That way the dog food stays fresher in the trash can.

Stella:    Trash can! No!!! Why do you put our food in a trash can? Nasty!!!

Me:        It is a clean metal trash can that has only been used to store dog food. Without it, your food might experience…visitors.

Stella:    Visitors? No!!! What sort of visitors?

Me:        You don’t want to know. Stella, stop screaming at everything I say.

Stella:    Everything you say? No!!!

Me:        Stella!

Stella:    Oh, okay.

Me:        Today I physically had to go pick up y’all’s dog food. That’s 3 fifty pound bags of dog food.

Stella:    Like three of me.

Me:        Right. Exactly. Three Stellas worth. Plus 50 pounds of chicken feed. And three pounds of parakeet food.

Stella:    Chickens. Who cares? They can eat bugs. Parakeet, schmarakeet. So what?

Me:        I pick up all three types of food at the same feed store. One trip. Three errands done.

Stella:    Then why were you gone so long?

Me:        I was gone for two hours. And remember, humans have to eat, too.

Stella:    It freaked me…us…out.

Me:        So it’s good to have a dinosaur to chew on.

Stella:    A dinosaur, yes. And those 3 Stellas worth of dog food. Don’t forget that.

Me:        But that’s for everybody.

Stella:    Get another metal can for the others. The queen deserves her own stash.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.






Throw the Humans a Bone – Stella’s Blog

Hello! I am Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge. I go by many titles, but my favorite is Queen so you all may call me that.

We bulldogs have big reputations. We are adorable. We are comedians, the funny kind. We have big, sloppy mouths with which to kiss you.

But make no mistake. We are not easy. We are a challenge. And boy howdy, that makes me proud. Bulldog proud! We should have our own flag! It could have a picture of me in the center with stars floating all around my big smiling head.

But I digress. (I don’t know what digress means, but Lady Human likes to use it when I am talking so I must be digressing. I think it means that what I am saying is important.)

When I or any of the bulldogs get tense, we are overwhelmed with a desire to chew on something, anything, but the humans are unreasonable. They won’t let us chew on furniture. Something about teeth marks looking bad. You see. As I said. Unreasonable.

Instead, the humans give us tough, hard chew bones. The bones don’t come from animals, but they taste good. Chicken flavored. Peanut butter flavored. Wonderful.

We chew and chew and chew and boom, everything is all right. I don’t know how the humans make those wonderful bones solve all problems. It is just one of their many talents. (Please don’t tell them that I said that they are talented. They would never let me forget it.)

I just wish that the humans would chew on bones themselves. There is a lot of tension being a human. I watch all the things they do, all the coming and going, all the stuff they have to carry and build and remember to do. On top of all that, they have to remember to keep our supply of treats going. No matter what else they do, really, nothing is more important than the treats.

So how can we throw the humans a bone?

I considered offering mine to Lady Human. I would enjoy watching her gnaw on one. I can just imagine her tension melting away. Is Tiger barking too much? Chew a bone. Is Miss Sweetie farting again because she ate green pecans off the ground? Chew a bone. Is Wiggles trash diving? Just chew a bone. In fact, thinking about all that has made me a little wound up. I had better keep that chew bone for myself. Lady Human will have to get her own.

Farewell, humans. Remember to hang in there and chew your bones.

Signed, Queen Stella


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Yuck! What Are You Chewing?

Like many animals, like many humans, our bulldogs explore the world with their mouths. Next to their noses and their eyes, their tongues tell them a lot about the goodness of life.

So why did I find Miss Sweetie, one of Wiggles’ almost grown puppies, chewing on a twisted piece of wire this morning?

She didn’t just happen to find the wire. She had to work for it. She had wrenched it from the screen covering for the small fire pit in the patio. I found her standing on top of the cold fire pit with the steel framed cover in her mouth, jerking it back and forth. And then she dropped it. And that’s when the chewing began.

I dug my fingers into her wide bulldoggy mouth and felt around until I located the foreign object. I am glad that the dogs we have to deal with don’t mind that kind of attention. I never fear being bitten. I am equally glad that I don’t get grossed out by bulldog mouth slime.

The twisted wire I removed from her mouth formed a figure eight, sort of, about half an inch long. I refused to let myself imagine what might have happened had I not been there to retrieve it and Miss Sweetie had swallowed it. She didn’t. I was there. Praise the LORD!

The question I did ask myself (not Miss Sweetie – she doesn’t answer my questions) is what was the big attraction? She had just had breakfast. She has a really cool Nylabone chew toy that she acts as though she enjoys. She loves sticks to carry around to drop in random places and there were plenty of various sized sticks around the yard.

So when you have been given all these things, why fight a screen cover to wrest a bit of wire off? Fire-scorched, dirty, ash-covered, crumpled wire. Can it really be that interesting? Does it really taste that good?

I suspect that Miss Sweetie is a wire-chewer like her mom. Wiggles has single-pawed been responsible for more wire and phone charger damage in the house than all the other dogs put together. Still there are far fresher wires to engage in a good round of old-fashioned chewing than what Miss Sweetie picked.

Maybe it was the challenge. Maybe it was the fight. No, you old screen! You’re not going to defeat me!

I’ve fallen into those habits myself. I have overeaten. “Just one more bite. I can’t leave that piece on the plate.”

I have put stuff in my mouth that barely passed muster as food.

My teeth have pulled and torn beef jerky apart that probably could have hauled a car.

I need to be more careful about what I put in my mouth.

I need to be more careful about what I chew on – physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally. Not everything digests well. Not everything is meant to go on the inside.


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Whatever You Do With It, Don’t Leave It in the Yard

Our bulldogs are grabbers. If an item smells good…or bad, is small and nonthreatening, and just happens to be laying out of the reach of a human hand, it’s fair game. Grab it and run. That’s one of their many bulldoggy mottoes.

On more than one occasion, I have forgotten to bring my chicken feed scoop in from the yard after using it to feed the hens. I leave it sitting on a chair or on the chicken house while I am handling another chore and flat forget about it when I go in.

One day, it showed up in a bulldog’s mouth. In Wiggles’ mouth to be precise. She is forever on the lookout for discarded items. Teeth marks punctuated the open rim, but it was still fully functional. I had retrieved it just in time. Then I forgot it again and that time the handle was partially crushed. It was still fully functional and you will not find me throwing out a useful article for the sake of cosmetic blemishes.

The rule around here is, if you want it intact, don’t leave it in the yard. Even on a window sill, even on top of the barbeque grill, not anywhere, not for any length of time. One of the dogs will find it. One of the dogs will carry it off in a big bulldog maw.

A neighbor got on the Nextdoor app last night, asking everyone around our road to keep a lookout for a drone that her brother had been flying in their yard. A strong wind rose up and carried the drone away in our direction. The request came in late and I didn’t see the message until after midnight. I am all for helping out neighbors, but I couldn’t picture myself walking around in the dark in the wee morning hours looking for the red and blue flashing lights on a missing drone.

And then the awful thought came – what if the drone landed in our backyard?

What if the bulldogs find it first?

Poor drone!

But it still had a chance if it fell back there. The dogs do not go out late and would not go out again until after daylight. And a drone might freak them out so that, instead of wanting to eat it, they might just run away from it.

So I am keeping my eyes open today for a stray drone that may be resting in our yard somewhere. Thus far, no bulldog has been seen carrying debris and no dog has come streaking back to the house in terror. It is probably not on our property. I do hope the neighbors find it.

I can’t count on our bulldogs to turn into a search and rescue team though.


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.