My Kingdom Is Being Invaded! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges and (lest people forget as they are prone to do) Illustrious and all that goes to say that this is MY land, MY house, MY territory which also goes to say that something is TERRIBLY WRONG when Tiger and I are put out in the yard and told that we MUST (not a word to use to a queen) stay out here until something (I don’t know what) is finished!

Me:        It will only be for about 10 minutes.

Stella:    I can hear a horrible, screechy noise from inside the house! My kingdom…(or is it queendom) is being invaded! Rally the troops! Oh, they are inside, except for Tiger here. No matter. To Arms! Where is that stick that I was chewing earlier? Tiger, find a rock or something to throw! No! Not that! What is that? A toadstool? Nasty! Find something useful. Something to combat an invasion!

Me:        If you are finished giving orders…

Stella:    I am never finished giving orders. And BTW as the humans say, why are you sitting out here so calm as though nothing important is going on?

Me:        Because nothing important is going on and I wanted to keep you two company while you’re out here.

Stella:    Getting down to brass tacks…

Me:        Really? Where did you hear that?

Stella:    Not important. Why are we out here?

Me:        Because Tall Man is running the big shop vac, cleaning up all the bulldog hair that has floated from you all and because the last time he did that, you and Tiger went crackers, ballistic, nuts, and got overexcited. The others were fine with it. They just watched and barked every now and again. But you and Tiger got so wound up that you both panted for at least an hour. Nothing we did calmed you down.

Stella:    Now I remember. The monster roared in from the garage, its teeth bared, growling ferociously. Tall Man was caught in its trap and was being pulled along while the snake-like snout of the beast prowled along the floor, consuming everything in its path – dog hair, cat hair, dust, but worst of all, tasty bits of food that had fallen from our bowls…

Me:        That’s not the way I remember it.

Stella:    Humans have fallible memories.

Me:        Fallible? You’ve been listening to the television again. Good vocabulary development.

Stella:    Silence!

Me:        That is one word I wish you would tuck away. Ah, here comes Tall Man. He must be finished. We can all go back in now.

Stella:    Tall Man, has my kingdom fallen?

Tall Man:  Why is Stella making that noise?

Me:        Same reason as usual.

Stella:    Lady Human, you said that Tiger and I went ‘crackers’ and ‘nuts’ last time the monster roared through the house. I didn’t see any of those. What happened to that food? Can we have some of it?



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



The First Thing is Don’t Panic

Maybe that title should come with an exclamation point. Naw. That’s really the whole issue in this post. Sometimes a crisis (or a perceived crisis) doesn’t need an exclamation point. It may need the light turned up or the volume turned down so you can understand what the matter is or whether there is a matter at all.

Stella, our “queen” bulldog, posted her Monster Alert before she had all the facts. (See Stella’s Blog – Monster Alert – Special Edition from March 29, 2016 for the details from her point of view.) She wasn’t alone in her panic. She was joined in her barking frenzy by the whole crew. Snoopey was actually the first dog to see the “monster”.

I felt sorry for them. I knew that what they saw was no monster, but I could not let them out to show them because my son, a.k.a. the Tall Man, was mowing and spreading diatomaceous earth in the yard and the dogs could not be allowed out there until everything settled. He was wearing goggles and a large breathing filter so that his lungs would not be affected. None of the bulldogs have breathing apparatus.

I’m sure he did appear like a strange creature to them. His head was covered by the equipment and he was running the loud mower.  An insect-headed interloper from a non-bulldog planet. I told them everything was all right. I tried to calm them down. I was telling them the truth. They didn’t believe me. They believed their eyes.

When my son came inside and took off his protective gear, they saw his face. All fear vanished. All barking stopped. All panic ceased.

The dogs’ panic would not have contributed to their response to the monstrous threat had it existed. Getting all wound up doesn’t help any of us answer a challenge.

The key is not to start with panic. Alertness, yes. Observation, yes. Eyes wide open, yes. Maybe even a quick step to safety until the situation is clear. Panic clouds those responses. And I wish they would trust me more. I’m the one who knew what was going on.

Oh, well, I should remember that, too.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.”   (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)


©2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.