House Rules – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human! Lady Human! Wiggles is dragging towels out of the clean up box. Violation of House Rule 1,390,245.

Me:        Wiggles, leave the towels alone.

Wiggles:   No. Yes. No. Okay. Can I keep the ones I already have?

Me:        I guess so, as long as you don’t eat them.

Wiggles:   Awwww. Never mind then.

Me:        And Stella, we don’t have a million plus house rules.

Stella:    You could’ve fooled me.

Snoopey:   Lady Human! Stella is sitting too close to the Picture Box. She is staring at it. That’s bad for her eyes. Violation of House Rule blah – blah – blah – blah – blah.

Stella:    Hey, I’m the one who gets to call out House Rule violations. And I’m not, because I like these pretty pictures. And besides, Wiggles is still in violation of House Rule 1,390,245 and she is pulling out more towels and Lady Human hasn’t stopped her.

Tiger:     Lady Human! Miss Sweetie is sitting over in the corner making loud, rumbly noises. Violation of some House Rule or other, I’m sure.

Me:        House Rules are to promote safety, peace, and enjoyment. How are rumbly noises a violation of those?

Tiger:     I don’t enjoy her rumbly noises so there’s that.

Miss Sweetie:    Lady Human! Doodlebug walked into Wiggles’ crate, sniffing around and drooling!  Violation of House Rule something or other.

Doodlebug:   Tattle tale! Nosy nose!

Miss Sweetie:   Lady Human! Doodlebug is calling me names for following the rules. Make him stop! Violation of House Rule I don’t know what, but…

Me:   Okay. New House Rule.

Tiger:   Oh, no!

Snoopey:   Not another one.

Me:        Everybody minds their own business.

Stella:    That’s fine with me because everything is my business. Now make it official.

Me:        Okay…it’s official?

Stella:    Number, please.

Me:        Really? How about Stella’s choice?

Stella:    Great!

Me:        So… what’s the number?

Stella:    I have no idea. I can’t count that high.

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

Rubbing Elbows with the Enemy – Conversations with Stella

Hello. I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges…

Me:        And I am not. What I am right now is amazed, startled, even shocked, because I just caught a glimpse of something on the patio, something surprising, staggering, incomprehensible…

Stella:    Okay. We get it. Something weird happened.

Me:        You should know. You were at the center of the weird.

Stella:    Let’s see. I was panting because it is hot.

Me:        That’s not weird. That’s normal.

Stella:    I got excited when the tiny human puppy visited again and I knocked my water bowl over.

Me:        You get excited whenever anybody visits, though admittedly not to the point of upsetting the bowls.

Stella:    Weird, huh? Oh, yeah, I had a meeting with Jerky McSquirrelyFace out on the patio. Nice guy.

Me:        You don’t think that’s weird after all the running and the chasing and him throwing nuts down on all of us and the saber rattling and the threats of all out squirrel/bulldog war…

Stella:    We talked. They’ve just about run out of pecans here. We made a deal. There won’t be as much nut tossing from now on.

Me:        You talked. Huh. So, there is an outbreak of peace between squirrels and bulldogs?

Stella:    No, not really. We are just on summer hiatus.

Me:        You know what a ‘hiatus’ is?

Stella:    Sure. Yes. No. Maybe. I am thinking it is like a vacation. Anyway, Jerky and I decided that it was too hot to fight right now so we are putting all plans off until the leaves start to fall and the air is cooler. And then, Jerky, watch out! Autumn is coming!

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

When You Don’t Know What to Say, Pray – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella. I am an Olde English Bulldogge. In fact, I am their queen. For those who don’t know me, that was my introduction.  My question today is

The humans are sad. Why?

Me:        Something terrible took place last night not many miles from where we are.

Stella:    I don’t understand.  How far is “miles”? Did it happen in our backyard?

Me:        No, but it feels as though it did.

Stella:    Did it happen to us?

Me:        As hard as this may be for you to comprehend, it happened to all of us.

Stella:    I don’t feel different. And when I woke up this morning, I counted and all of us were here, bulldogs and humans. Even the cat.

Me:        Not every family can say that.

Stella:    Tell me the truth. Did some bulldogs get loose and run wild?

Me:        No, nothing like that.

Stella:    So it is not our fault?

Me:        No.

Stella:    That is a relief. I always feel guilty when dogs cause a problem. I want to stop problems, not cause them.

Me:        Me, too.

Stella:    Was it a storm? Because those can cause problems and I don’t know how to stop them either.

Me:        It was like a storm, but humans caused it.

Stella:    But humans don’t like storms! Why would humans cause one?

Me:        Hatred. Confusion. Mistrust. Do you remember when Tiger came to us and why?

Stella:    Yes, a dog attacked Tiger and hurt her so badly that she almost crossed over. Was what happened last night like that, but it was not done by dogs, but by humans?

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    But humans are supposed to have more understanding than we do. Humans are supposed to know better.

Me:        We don’t apparently. Not by a long shot.

Stella:    But the Great Creator put humans in charge and we are all subject to you. Stop the human-made storms! What are you going to do?

Me:        Pray. And keep praying. Never stop. Even if things look all right. Ask the LORD and obey what He says. And never give up. Never. Never. Never.

Stella:    What can I do?

Me:        Be yourself, Stella. That’s what God created you to do.

Stella:    How can that help?

Me:        We need to smile again. And laugh. That’s another part of this life that God has given us. And that, Stella, is where you come in.

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”  (James 3:3 KJV)

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Stella’s Blog – No Barking at Breakfast

Hello! I am Stella, Queen (Yes, QUEEN) of the Olde English Bulldogges. Welcome once again to my blog. I like blogging because I have much to say on every subject, even subjects I know nothing about.

The sky has been crying a lot. Rain, the humans call it. But I am dry and comfortable. Why? Because I do not dance in the water like Miss Sweetie and Doodlebug. They are silly puppies and come back in the house painted with mud and who knows what else. I am dignified and all grown up and…oh, what’s that? The cat is running and I must catch her!  Aaaagghh! I slid on the floor. Missed chance! Where was I? Ah, I am a dignified grown-up and I don’t do silly things.

Which is why I want to complain about barking at breakfast.

I like a nice, quiet morning. Breakfast comes after outdoor potty time (take note, Miss Sweetie – outdoor potty time. There is no official indoor potty time ever.) Lady Human calls our food time “The Hallelujah Breakfast Club” and she eats with us. Not the same food  out of our bowls. I would not like that. Everybody, stay out of my bowl! I don’t want your dirty mouths in it. That goes double for Lady Human. I have no idea what humans eat or chew on. I don’t even want to think about it.

I have noted way too much loud bulldog talk during breakfast. Tiger is the biggest loudmouth. If I can wait patiently for my bowl to be filled, why can’t you,Tiger? And Doodlebug does not have to put his five pennies in either.

(Pause for consultation with transcriptionist)

 Two cents. I have been informed that the human expression is two cents. Very well. Two cents. It sounded more like five to me.

The point is they have nothing to say and it is too early to be listening to loud noises. Barking should be used for emergencies only, such as strangers, hurry up bathroom runs, Moon the Cat, and singing the song of our people.

So please, everyone, dogs and people, keep the barking down in the mornings. The only sound that we should hear is bulldog mouths chomping our food. Humans may stay if they eat silently.

Thank you for your kind attention. That is all.

Signed,

Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Conversations with Stella – My Beautiful Bed, Goodbye!

Me:        Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge, is frustrated and sad. She is going through a mini crisis.

Stella:   Mini? You mean like those little dachshunds. No, not mini! Biggy! A biggy sad!

Me:        Okay, a biggy sad. Why don’t you explain?

Stella:   My bed! My wonderful, perfect bed! The one Tall Man gave me the first night I came here to my new home. It’s ….gone! Destroyed! Life will never be the same!

Me:        And how did it come to be destroyed so suddenly?

Stella:   Mmmmm, not sure.

Me:        Mmmmm, think about it.

Stella:   Well, my fancy Nylabone was stuck under my bed and it refused to come out when I called it so I could chew on it and I got more and more frustrated and I started pawing at the pad and I kept on and on…and before I knew it, a big hole…just appeared…and stuffing came out…and….AAAAWWWWGHH! The floor to my beautiful bed was GONE!

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Me:        Do you understand how the big hole happened?

Stella:   AAAAWWWWGHH! No!

Me:        The beds are not meant to be pawed and pawed like that. You have to be gentle with them.

Stella:   AAAAWWWWGHH! But I’m a bulldog!

Me:        At least I got your Nylabone untangled.

Stella:   Yes…thank you. Chewing on it made me feel better.

Me:        Hey, I gave you another bed.

Stella:   It’s not the same.

Me:        It’s the same size by the same company.

Stella:   Not the same. Doesn’t smell like me.

Me:        It will. Honestly, it probably already does.

Stella:   Not the same. My beautiful bed had dog memories. I had some great dreams in that bed. Running, barking, chasing the cat. Gone. All gone.

Me:        You will enjoy new dreams.

Stella:   How would you feel if your bed was destroyed?

Me:        I would have to get another and break it in, get used to it, but it would be all right.

Stella:   Your bed must not be as special as mine was.

Me:        Special? I don’t know. It’s comfortable.

Stella:   AAAAWWWWGHH! You don’t understand!

Me:        Well, I am going to try to fix your old bed. I am going to sew a new floor into it so you will still have the same bolster all the way around it on which to rest your head.

Stella:   You can do that? Really?

Me:        I can try. I have some fabric that might work. Even for a bulldog.

Stella:   When? When? When?

Me:        Give me a few days. I’m going to have to stitch it by hand.

Stella:   Lady Human, if there is anything good that I can ever do for you, just let me know.

Me:        You can keep from clawing up the floor of your bed in the future. As for anything else, well, Stella, I think you’ve already done it.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Ouch! Don’t Stick Me With That!

We have been blessed with great veterinarians over the years and especially so since the bulldogs came. All of our dogs before that lived boring lives with fairly routine health issues. It takes guts to have bulldogs and it takes guts to be a vet that cares for their medical needs, which can be many.

Vets that come across bulldogs in their practices have to figure out mysteries, such as:

Is this a food allergy ailment? Will a simple change of diet solve it?

Why is this skin condition still not resolved? We’ve tried everything.

How can this anaerobic bacteria  be cleared from this wounded dog?

How many antibiotics can we use before antibiotic resistance becomes one of the                   problems?

We have dealt with all of the above issues with the help of our vets. Today’s issue was average, normal, ordinary.

We have two of Wiggles’ puppies and they needed rabies vaccinations.

Thank the LORD for the development of a vaccination against rabies. Can you imagine what life was like before that? There are still a lot of threats out there for humans and animals, but rabies does not have to be one of them anymore.

So we took the little boogers to be vaccinated against rabies. They already had all the other vaccinations and now they were old enough for THE BIG ONE, the one that must be administered by a licensed veterinarian, the one that is required by law in our state.

I think one of the great things about being a dog is the whole “live in the moment” experience. I have spent much of my thought life in the past and much of it in the future. Moments pass by me without notice. What happened yesterday, last week, last month, last year, or decades ago?

As if that were not enough, my mind races toward the future. What about this afternoon, tonight, tomorrow morning? What about next Thursday? What about summer? What about fall? Really? I haven’t even finished supper.

Those puppies (64 pound puppies, mind you) only wiggled and waggled and tried to play with every dog that came in the vet’s door. They weren’t worried beyond being a tad bit curious about what was going on. But they did not worry in anticipation over the shot. And when the shot came, there was not a whimper, not a cry, not a scared look on either face. “What was that? A little prick near my shoulder. Whatever. No big deal. Who’s barking outside? Have we met them yet? Does anybody have a snack?”

 I should be so calm. I should be so focused on the moment. Today. Not tomorrow, not next week, next month, or next year.

Today’s lesson for the human – be a little more like a dog. Live right now.

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  (Matthew 6:34 KJV)

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

Don’t Mad-Dog Me! Keep Your Eyes to Yourself

Dogs are visual creatures and so bulldogs are visual creatures times 10. (That ten-fold estimate is just my best guess. It could run higher.)

Bulldogs are lots of things including funny, roly-poly, barrel-shaped, broad-shouldered, and good natured. Oh, and one more thing.

They are intense.

I have seen Stella go from a relaxed state with her tongue lolling out of her mouth to an alert, perked-eared, quivering-lipped, wound-up spring of a dog in one second because the cat walked across the path of her eyes.

I have witnessed a resting Snoopey, completely stretched out, jump to her feet because she caught Tiger looking in her direction and they locked eyes. A threatening stare between humans is called “mad-dogging”. If you ever see it in person between dogs, you’ll agree it’s aptly named.

Wiggles, on the other hand, avoids lots of bulldog intensity by averting her eyes. She’ll glance into my face, make eye contact, and then look away. She does it with the other dogs, too. Her message: Hey, I just want to enjoy myself. I don’t want to make you mad. I don’t want to start a fight. I won’t trespass into your eyeball territory.

Make no mistake. Wiggles is no pushover when the push does occasionally come to the shove. But she senses that she shouldn’t be mad-dogging anybody. She focuses her eyes on something more interesting, more peaceable.  Sadly for me (who has to clean it up), once in a while, that neutral object is trash.

So the good ole bulldogs have presented me with another example of what not to do.

Don’t keep staring at the wrong things. Stop focusing on what stirs you up, makes you angry, or gets you in a tizzy. (Boy, that just cut way back on my news viewing.) And stop minding everybody else’s business. Mind your own.

“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.” Proverbs 4:25 KJV

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Conversations with Stella – Peace Talks, Part 2

Here we are – again. With me is Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge and today we will attempt to stay on topic:

What the Freak Can We Do to Bring Peace Back into Our House?

Stella:    We talked about that yesterday.

Me:        Only briefly. Mostly we got stuck on the subject of giant insects.

Stella:    I am totally opposed to peace talks with giant insects. No peace talks with them, not now, not ever.

Me:        I apologize for Stella. Once she gets an idea in her head, in true bulldog fashion, she doesn’t let go. Back to topic, how do we resolve the conflict between Tiger and Snoopey and between the bulldogs and Moon the cat?

Stella:    As I said before, get rid of the other dogs.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    Get rid of the cat.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    You and I go away on a long trip by ourselves and let them work things out.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    Not camping. An air-conditioned hotel, long walks on the beach, treats, that sort of thing.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    Tall Man can take care of the others. He won’t mind.

Me:        Not the point.

Stella:    You are right. Short walks on the beach. I don’t like long walks.

Me:        Again, not the point. Look, is it possible for you to talk to Tiger about the Snoopey issue, dog to dog?

Stella:    Teenagers don’t listen. Ask again in a few months. Tiger is all “I know everything. Don’t tell me what to do. Is it hot to you all in here? I feel like running. Watch me jump.” Listening is not strong with that one.

Me:        A short term solution then?

Stella:    Do what you tried this morning. Offer her a treat every time she comes inside and you want her to ignore Snoopey. It worked.

Me:        Oh, you saw that? I thought you were asleep.

Stella:    You had a treat in your hand. I can never be too soundly asleep to miss the scent of a treat floating around. Only when you do that with Tiger, give me a treat at the same time, just to keep the peace.

Me:        Hah! Just you? What about the others?

Stella:    They can make their own deals.

Me:        Treats are supposed to be earned.

Stella:    I earn a treat by my silence. You don’t know how hard it is to keep myself from barking at Tiger when she is acting like a jerk. And Tiger earns her treat when she comes in and doesn’t pick a fight with Snoopey. You don’t know how hard it is for Tiger not to act like a jerk.

Me:        And the cat chasing? How do we stop that?

Stella:    Why would we stop that?

Me:        Because it is loud, disruptive, and disorderly.

Stella:    And loads of fun and excitement. We’re running. And the cat’s running. And we’re jumping up on the furniture and knocking stuff over and the cat is on top of stuff and under stuff and behind stuff and everybody’s barking like mad…oh, I see.

Me:        We’ll keep talking about that. And your idea about a vacation is not a bad one. Maybe we can do that sometime.

Stella:    Only we have to go to a place where there are no giant insects!

Me:        That shouldn’t be too hard to find.

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Conversations with Stella – Peace Talks

May I please reintroduce Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge. She and I are conducting an open conversation on the following topic:

What the Freak Can We Do to Bring Peace Back into Our House?

Stella:    I am not familiar with the word “freak” in that question. Is that like the other week when Tall Man dressed up like a giant insect? Because that was freaky. I’m still having nightmares.

Me:        No, this use of the word “freak” is what humans call an expletive. It is used to get people’s attention and to emphasize strong emotion. Expletives are usually empty words to be avoided and there are expletives that I choose not to use. I am using “freak” here because it fits the way I feel – freaked out by all the wild behavior in the house lately. Do you understand?

Stella:    Yes. You are freaked out by giant insects, too.

Me:        No…Yes…No. Look, I would be if I ever saw a giant insect, but there aren’t any. They don’t exist. And giant insects are not the topic for discussion today.

Stella:    They should be.

Me:        Peace in the house, no more fighting or craziness, that is the conversation we are having today.

Stella:    Barking and chasing Moon the Cat will not destroy the world. Giant insects will destroy the world.

Me:        No, they won’t.

Stella:    I saw it on one of those black and white shows on TV. You really shouldn’t leave the TV on when you go out of the room. Scary.

Me:        I’ll try to remember that. Now can you help me? What can we do to bring peace to the house?

Stella:    Get rid of all the other dogs and keep me.

Me:        That wouldn’t be fair.

Stella:    It would be fair to me. I was here first. Honestly, did you have this problem when it was just me?

Me:        Well, no.

Stella:    Moon the Cat and I got along fine, even though she made those hideous hissing noises when I walked by and she has such an ugly face because…you know, CAT! And just think how much more time you would have if the others were gone. More time to do all sorts of stuff like pet me, and play with me, and groom me, and go places with me, and…

Me:        And you would no longer be Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, because there wouldn’t be any other bulldogs here. You would have no subjects.

Stella:    Wouldn’t you be here?

Me:        Okay, we have run out of time for today. We will have to take this matter up tomorrow.  Sorry we couldn’t stay on topic.

Stella:    Please join us tomorrow when our topic will be “The Growing Menace of Giant Insects”.

Me:        Nope.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

The Secret Treaties of Dogs and Cats

I walked up on Tiger the Olde English Bulldogge and Moon the Siamese-mix Cat having a eyeball-to-eyeball negotiation in complete silence. A few seconds later, Tiger ran over to where Snoopey was napping in her crate, minding her own business, and picked a fight.

It got loud and it got tense, but at least they couldn’t reach each other. Of course, Stella had to put her two cents into the jukebox, and the noise grew louder…I think. By then, I couldn’t hear my own thoughts so maybe I just imagined that.

I think Moon made a truce with Tiger, a peace treaty of the dog/cat sort.

I, Tiger, agree that I will not chase Moon the Cat. I further agree that I will stir up trouble with the bulldog known as Snoopey instead of siccing the bulldog known as Stella on Moon the Cat.

Game changer. A new alliance has entered the Bulldoggy Nation. What else did that eye-to-eye conversation between Tiger and Moon and the subsequent events signify?

The situation between Tiger and Snoopey had relaxed. Days had been calmer. Nights had been quieter. Not perfect, just better. But Tiger remains an adolescent – a lot of excitement, little wisdom.

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I have always suspected that Tiger and Moon are secretly in league with each other. In fact, I believe they are friends. Too many times have I opened the den door in the middle of the night to find Moon sitting right by an alert but tranquil Tiger. On top of that, Tiger NEVER chases Moon. She always gets someone else to do it, usually Stella because Stella is gullible. Wiggles and Snoopey just ignore Tiger’s grumbling and pointing.

So what was Moon’s part of the bargain?

I, the feline known as Moon the Cat (yuck – that was the best the humans could do?) agree to nothing. I will merely be myself. I will not to chase bulldogs because that is not what I do.

So what understanding do I gain from watching these animals live as imperfect neighbors?

That traditional enmities are not always graven in stone? Maybe.

Never trust a cat? The jury is still out on that one.

That cats are better negotiators than dogs? After all, Tiger and Snoopey have not                     been able to work out their differences.

That “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” is a commandment, not just a good idea. (Matthew 22:39; Leviticus 19:18 KJV). Yes. Amen.

 

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.