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.