When Humans Let Cats Rule – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am witnessing the most ridiculous scene of the last one hundred years, at least since yesterday.

Me:        One hundred years? We truly have to work on your sense of time.

Stella:    Hey, I’m not the one who changed all the clocks and then complained about it. My stomach clock is still on Stella time. Doodlebug got up an extra hour early on his own. If you noticed, I didn’t budge.

Me:        I did notice. What is so ridiculous?

Stella:    You. The way you are sitting. The way you are letting the cat rule the roost. And she isn’t even a chicken.

Me:        I’m just allowing her a little bit to wake up from her nap.

Stella:    She is taking up most of your chair, Lady Human. YOUR CHAIR! NOT HER CHAIR! YOUR CHAIR! You are sitting on the edge of YOUR CHAIR, need I repeat it.

Me:        No, you need not. She’ll get up in a minute.


Stella:    This is what results from humans cutting cats too much slack. I’ve never seen so much slack in my life. Just look at her, all slacky and stretched out and slinky and catlike. Yuck.

Me:        She’ll move.

Stella:    Famous first words.

Me:        The expression is ‘Famous last words’.

Stella:    Exactly. First words become last words and the cat is still there. Give a cat an inch and she’ll take over your chair. Another human saying.

Me:        Not exactly.

Stella:    Well, it should be. When humans let cats rule, no chair is safe.






Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Who Turned Off the Water?

Miss Sweetie has struck again.

Recently, she broke Doodlebug’s collar while he was still wearing it.

Yesterday, she did one better times 100. She bent the outdoor faucet in the patio – the very one that we use to fill the puppy pool.

How did she accomplish that? With her big bulldoggy mouth. I saw her out of the corner of my eye, but really thought nothing of it until I went to fill the chickens’ water jug. The faucet handle fought me. The pipe extending from the wall was bent – yes, actually bent. The metal pipe was bent.

I was able to get the water on, but I couldn’t turn it completely off without the leverage help of a screwdriver. Until it is fixed, off is how it will stay to avoid a major leak.

So why did she do it? She never paid no nevermind to the faucet before.

My firm belief is that she wanted to fill the puppy pool which sat right beneath the faucet and, having seen me turn the water on just about every day, she figured she could “handle” it herself.  Sort of like her brother does when he uses his talented paws to pull the backdoor handle down and let himself in.

Smart dogs. Scary smart.

Of course, now Miss Sweetie has temporarily lost access to the object of her desire. She is the bulldog most in love with the puppy pool and we have no other access to water in the fenced area of the yard. I feel like putting up a sad face here.


So what have I learned from this?

  1. Monitor Miss Sweetie around all plumbing fixtures. She can break ‘em, but she can’t fix ‘em.
  1. Be careful what I let her see me do or I may come around a corner some day to find her on her way out the door with my car keys in her mouth. (Warning: she is not licensed to drive.)
  1. Before I put my hand to something I don’t understand or blow my mouth off about things I don’t really know, stop. Think. Pray. Get understanding. Why let ignorance break the very thing I am trying to use?

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”   (Proverbs 4:7 KJV)

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Poop and Patience

Eventually, if you talk about dogs long enough, you will come to the subject of poop. Yes, we humans refer to this as bathroom talk. I only bring it up now because for months we have been working with Miss Sweetie to view the whole of outdoors as her bathroom and indoors as off limits for that type of activity.

It has been a challenge, a long battle, and on various weeks, we thought we had won the fight, only to have a setback, a retreat, if you will, into old bad habits. You see, at a mysterious point in her young life, Miss Sweetie had a crate accident and came to associate her crate with her bathroom.

Solitary trips outside without the other dogs helped. When she is outside with the others, it is time for play-play, not poo-poo, and she never gets down to business.

After months of training, we still have the occasional incident. It seems that Miss Sweetie does not want to bother us by asking to be let out, so she silently takes care of her needs indoors, usually in her crate. We have tried the cleaning solutions, putting her food in her crate, lavish, instant praise, and other suggestions by internet dog poop gurus, and things are going much better.

Still, poop happens.

I walk around outside with Miss Sweetie, just the two of us, so that there are no bulldog distractions. Every morning, you can hear me encouraging her, saying words I never intended in my life to say to anyone.

“Poop! Go ahead. You can poop. You can do it. Anytime now. It’s fine. Just pick your favorite spot. Or a new spot. Any spot. Poop. This is your time.This is your moment.”

I sincerely hope no one is within earshot during these sessions.  I can hear them now. “There goes that poor woman who thinks she has to talk her dog into pooping.”

After minutes…and minutes…and minutes of sniffing, visiting with the chickens, taste-testing new sticks, pointing her smooshy face skyward to catch the latest scent on the wind, Miss Sweetie ambles away from me, on a poop quest at last, and secretly I rejoice.

So what have I learned from this?

That if I want people to be patient with me, I need to be patient with them.

 That some things can’t be rushed.

That it’s perfectly all right not to be in a hurry.

That while I do not want to smell poop, I need to slow down and smell the morning air.

That I can wait for my first cup of coffee/tea a few more minutes.(Flexibility is good. I’m not going to die.)

That not everything responds instantly to my command. (Who do I think I am anyway?And what am I rushing off to? Get real. It is probably no more interesting than waiting for a dog to poop.)

I keep coming back to this:

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting                                  nothing. (James 1:4 KJV)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.








A Little Rain Must Fall

My mother often employed the old expression, “Into every life, a little rain must fall.” She never knew a bulldog or she would have realized that they reject that sentiment utterly. Like oil and water, rain and bulldogs don’t mix.

Our most recent interactions with a morning-long downpour went something like this:

Snoopey. I knew what was going to happen, but I tried anyway. “Come on, girl, outside quick! It’s a little slower now.” She took five steps toward the open door. Nope! Recognizing the wet mess, she whirled around, ran into her crate, and hunkered down.

Okay, next?

Stella didn’t even lift her head. She opened her eyes, glanced at the door, and closed them again. Nope! I generally know when not to waste my time.

Okay, next?

Wiggles. Sweet, sweet Wiggles. I hustled her through the door before she knew what was going on in the world of weather. (Not always quick on the uptake is Wiggles, but as I said, really, really sweet). She halted just outside, cast a longing look over her shoulder at the dry house, sighed, went “oh, well”, and trotted into the yard to get it over with which she did in double quick time. Back inside, she performed the mandatory ceremonial shaking of the coat.

Okay, next?

Tiger. Eager and quick, she ran to the door, skidding to a halt, cartoon style, with all four legs fighting off the soaked threshold. Nope! Oh, come on, Tiger! I gave her a push from behind, but the feet were planted. Nope! I gave up. Some bulldog battles aren’t worth fighting. She flipped around and rushed into her crate, not even detouring for a morning snarl match with Snoopey. That’s how serious avoiding this rain business was.

We all face trials. Some are easier than others to confront. Our attitudes make the difference in how well we come through it.

“…count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:2-3 KJV

Like the bulldogs, I don’t always count rain or some other delay or temptation a joy, but if I let it, it does teach patience. And none of the fussing over it stopped a single drop of rain from falling. We all eventually got a little wet.


©2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.