Walking With Humans -Conversations with Stella

Hello! I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Walking with humans is difficult. They are clumsy and have trouble keeping up with us.

Transcriptionist: Hey! We are not clumsy.

 Stella:  Says the human who tripped over a little branch on the ground and let her nose hit the dirt.

Transcriptionist:  Thanks for the sympathy, Stella.

Stella:  You are welcome. Now for my walking rules:

Rule Number 1: Do not go for walks. Bulldogs hate them. We sometimes pretend to tolerate them to make the humans feel better. Bulldogs like to sit. Bulldogs like to nap. Stay sedentary, my friends.

Rule Number 2: Fight any effort by the humans to put a lead or a harness on you. Doodlebug has a neat move to get out of a lead. Just turn around quickly before the lead is tightened and duck your head. Voila´! (I heard one of the humans say that. I have no idea what it means, but he seemed excited.) Anyway, it works for Doodlebug. You can also wrestle with the harness, refuse to move your feet, or step in and out of the harness. Humans tend to give up easily. Bulldog tenacity wins.

Rule Number 3: If somehow the humans get a lead or harness on you, pull as hard as you can. They will expect this. Maybe. After all, we are bulldogs. Pull as though you are headed for a chicken and bacon festival. Pulling will tire the humans out and they will happily turn toward home.

Rule Number 4: When out on a walk, stop and sniff EVERYTHING. Humans expect this as normal dog behavior. It is part of the enjoyment of the ‘Great Outdoors’ as the humans call our wonderful bathroom. They say ‘stop and smell the roses’. Don’t waste your time. Ignore the roses. Stop and smell the evidence that other animals have left behind. It tells quite a story. And don’t forget to leave a calling card of your own so that everyone knows you have passed that way. It is our own form of history.

Rule Number 5: When you are tired, flop flat on your stomach. The human will not know how to handle this. It is a clear sign that you are done for the day.

Start with these guidelines, my dear bulldogs. Walk as seldom as possible. Fight every step of the way. Soon the humans will get the message and stop trying. Then let the relaxation begin.

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Stop Trying to Lead Yourself – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and I can’t stop laughing.

Me:        That probably means that you are laughing at one of us. Bulldog or human?

Stella:    Both. It was hilarious. You had Miss Sweetie on the lead and all of a sudden she jerked it out of your hand and picked up the end you had been holding and she had it in her mouth while she was still wearing it and SHE STARTED LEADING HERSELF WITH IT! So funny. You should have seen the look on your face.

Me:        I’m kind of glad that I didn’t.

Stella:    Miss Sweetie is so funny! Taking herself for a walk! It’s good that we were not outside.

Me:        She would not have gotten far. Did you notice that she was going around in circles?

Stella:    Yes, Wiggles dances in circles. Now Miss Sweetie leads herself around in circles, going nowhere fast.

Me:        They lacked a plan. And boy, am I glad of that.

Stella:    I don’t like the lead.

Me:        Most don’t.

Stella:    Even humans?

Me:        Especially humans.

Stella:    Because you think you are all that and a bag of doggy treats?

Me:        Yep. It’s called pride and we are really good at it.

Stella:    You are proud of pride.

Me:        No, I’m ashamed of it. It’s like me trying to lead myself and just going in circles.

Stella:    So you and Miss Sweetie have a lot in common.

Me:        Well, I hope I smell a little bit better.

“Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:5 KJV

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

I’m Not Asking. I’m Telling.

I’m not good at giving direct orders. My style is softer. (My kids would disagree with that, but this is my story so I am telling it my way.) I’m better at offering suggestions, even strong ones, or asking questions that point a discussion in the direction I believe it should go.

I am more successful at giving direct orders to the bulldogs. If humans did not take their authority seriously, I can see bulldogs taking over the world. If you think we are in trouble now, imagine the government in the paws and mouths of a gigantic pack of bulldogs. They would carry off and lose everything. None of us would ever be able to find our stuff. Even if we stumbled over any of it, it would be chewed up, wet, and dirty.

Having said that, I found myself falling into a bad habit around the dogs. I started asking them if something I wanted to do was “okay”. “I’m going to eat now, okay?” “I’m going to the store, okay?” “I’m just going to sit down and read a little, okay?”

Let’s be honest.  I was going to do what I needed or wanted to do no matter what the bulldogs thought about it, but my words betrayed a strange mindset that bothered me. I let the question bleed over into what the dogs were going to do. “Let’s go outside, okay?” You had better believe it’s okay. The days of pooping and peeing in the house are officially over. Understand? No, of course they don’t understand, not to the extent that I do.

And that’s my latest lesson from the bullies.

Bulldogs are stubborn. Bulldogs are pigheaded. Bulldogs are bullheaded. In a word, they’re bulldoggy. And there is something that they are not. They are not in charge.

When you are in charge, be in charge. You are going to bear the responsibility of it anyway, so DO IT. You don’t have to be mean. You don’t have to be rude. You don’t have to be abrupt. Those behaviors are counterproductive.

You do have to be decisive. You do have to act. You do have to be strong. You do have to carry through.

Why did the LORD introduce me to bulldogs? Because a teacup toy poodle would not have taught me some of the lessons that I needed to learn, lessons that apparently I could only learn through a pack of big, broad-shouldered, resistant, argumentative bulldogs. Again, why? Because I had become pretty resistant and argumentative myself toward God so He chose some bulldogs to break through to me.

I am in charge over a pack of Olde English Bulldogges. When it is time to go outside, “No” is not an option. I’m not asking; I’m telling. Okay? (Forgive me, LORD. This may take more time and practice.)

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Don’t Be A Mule

I wish that I had a decent picture of Doodlebug, the Olde English Bulldogge 7-month old puppy, but he won’t sit or stand still long enough for an amateur like me to snap one. The photo above is pretty much what he looks like all the time – a shiny, black, four-legged smear in the lens, in perpetual motion.

Wiggles’ son, Doodlebug, plows through the world with no sense of caution. He is a sixty-four pound dynamo. Nothing stands in his way. Well, not much. I try and sometimes I succeed – sort of. He still can’t bust through solid walls. Thankfully, he is smart enough not to try.

In fact, he is one very smart dog. My son was cleaning his crate and he put a lead on Doodlebug to limit his interference with the chore. My son tied the lead to another crate with a simple knot and went on with his cleaning. When he turned around, Doodlebug was working the knot loose with his teeth. In less than a minute, the puppy had untied himself.

Doodlebug is also one of two dogs with us able to open an unlocked door by pulling down on a door handle. His mom, Wiggles, is the other one.

Smart? Yes!

Handsome? Yes!

Bulldoggy in the extreme? Yes, bulldoggy as all get-out!

A simple trip to the backyard turns into a wrestling match as Doodlebug simply must smell everything on the way to the door AND he must turn aside to see everything along the path. Our philosophy with the dogs is that outdoor bathroom business comes first; all else can wait until the return trip. Doodlebug disagrees.

I don’t know how much force a 64 pound bulldog pulling with all of his might exerts. I’m not that good at math. I only know that since I started walking Doodlebug on a lead, I no longer need free weights to work out my arms.

Doodlebug is the bulldoggiest bulldog I have yet seen.  His motto is “MY WAY, PERIOD. ANY QUESTIONS? WHO CARES?”

And there before me is yet another living example of how we must seem to God when we are insisting on our own way. When I see it in front of my own eyes, it helps me see it in myself.

Persistence is good. Perseverance is fine. Endurance is strength.

But pure old bullheaded mulishness for the sake of being like a mule? There are far better things on which I can spend my muscle power than pulling against God.

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” Psalm 32:8-9 KJV

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Don’t Fight the Lead!

I have noticed that I tend to use a lot of exclamation points in these blog posts. Many advise against them. Those many are not writing about bulldogs.

All the dogs I have ever owned or dealt with have walked on leads or leashes without much trouble. There was the introduction phase, the training phase, and things proceeded pretty easily from there. Of course, the one Great Pyrenees we had years ago (weighing in at 100 pounds in the winter) knew when she was going to the vet, and no leash could persuade her to move once we got to the parking lot. From that point on I did a lot of picking up the front paws, then picking up the back paws, then picking up the front paws, etc. It went that way until we inched our way forward. And I do mean ‘inched’.

None of our Olde English Bulldogges came to us leash-trained. What does that mean during transportation or walking? They walk when they want to and stop when they want to and there is a lot of cajoling, commanding (hence the exclamation points), and less cooperation than I would like.

And then there’s the pulling, and I mean pulling as in we could win a tug of war against a group of Marines. When one of our dogs makes up her bulldoggy mind to head in a certain direction, she heads in that certain direction which is not, of course, my certain direction. We wage a war of wills, or more to the point, a war of muscles, and that is where I often come up short.

I give a lot of lip service to following the will of God for my life, but when it comes to following His lead, I strain in my own direction, hoping that He will change His mind and go with me or that I heard Him wrong. He loves me enough not to give up on me. He knows my stubbornness. Sometimes He lets me pull in my own way down the wrong path until I stop and turn around with a confused look on my face. Then we start over.

When the bulldogs fight the lead, I hold on with a mighty hand. For a time, the battle is on. But I love them too much to let them run across a busy street, stray off on their own to get lost, or aggressively charge another dog. And that’s how the Lord loves me (though truthfully I have never been known to charge at dogs).

“Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou are my God: Thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” Psalm 143:10 KJV

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.