Reading the Ground – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am strolling around the yard with Lady Human, not doing any business if you know what I mean. We are just checking out spring. What are you staring at?

Me:        You.

Stella:    Yes, I do deserve your undivided attention.

Me:        I like watching how you work your nose.

Stella:    Haven’t you heard? Humans say that bulldogs are not a “working” breed.

Me:        Looks like work to me.

Stella:    I am reading the ground. I think that is how a human would put it. But not the way you read one of those silly things you call a “book” because that would just be weird. You would have to put it on the ground and stick your nose on it and sniff and sniff and leave some nose drool and a nose print on it. I can’t really imagine you doing that.

Me:        So, when you read the ground, what do you learn?

Stella:    Who passed by this way, what they had to eat, whether this is their favorite pee spot. Stuff like that.

Me:        Yeah, you wouldn’t get much out of my books.

Stella:    You mean I wouldn’t be able to tell who had handled it, or who had just eaten pizza or a hamburger or a chicken treat, or who had peed on it?

Me:        I certainly hope not.






Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Never Pee in Your Sunbathing Spot! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Hear ye! Hear ye! I have an announcement to make!

Me:        Announce away.

Snoopey:   Oh, no, not again.

Tiger:     Do I have to listen? No, I don’t.

Wiggles:   Places to go, people to see. Bye.

Doodlebug:   Nap time!

Miss Sweetie:    Oh, good! Aunt Stella has something new to say!

Stella:    Never pee in your sunbathing spot!

Me:        Are we talking about pee? Again? How many times are we going to talk about pee?

Stella:    Pee is an important topic. Never forget.

Snoopey:   Sunbathing is important. Food is important. Sleep is important. Chew toys are important. Pee…yep, pee is important. Lady Human, I just realized. I need to go outside, please.

Me:        Okay.

Stella:    Don’t pee in your sunbathing spot! More importantly, don’t pee in MY sunbathing spot!

Me:        Is this a real problem?

Stella:    Have you seen the patio today?





Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Bathroom Maneuvers – Conversations with Stella and Doodlebug

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and as queen, it is my duty to inform Lady Human of bulldog misbehavior, unless it is my own. Lady Human, I regret to tell you, but Doodlebug has pulled a Miss Sweetie bathroom trick.

Me:        What? What’s going on? You don’t mean…

Stella:    Yes. No. Maybe. If you are thinking that Doodlebug built his own toilet by stacking his food bowl on his water bowl at a convenient angle, no. He’s not that skilled. Sweetie is a way better…what do humans call it?

Me:        Engineer.

Stella:    Okay. If you say so. Anyway, if you were thinking that Doodlebug aimed at his empty food bowl and peed, then you would be right.

Me:        Doodlebug, why?


Doodlebug:        Mmmmm. I dunno.

Me:        How come you didn’t let me know you needed to go out?  I just went outside for a minute to throw the trash away. Couldn’t you have waited?

Doodlebug:        No.

Me:        Why not? Are you all right?

Doodlebug:        Yep.

Me:        Do you have a problem?

Doodlebug:        Nope.

Me:        Then why did you pee in your food bowl?

Doodlebug:        I do what I want. I do what I want.

Me:        Oh, no, you don’t do what you want, boy. Nobody gets to do whatever they want. Nobody.

Stella:    Humans do.

Me:        No, humans do not.

Stella:    Ridiculous.

Me:        Humans have rules, standards, guidance that we must live by. They are given to us by the Great Creator, so that we will live and live well. And one of our rules is that we do not pee in our food bowls.

Stella:    Doodlebug did.

Doodlebug:        I do what I want. I do what…

Me:        No, Doodlebug, no. You are getting too old to be acting out like that. Let me know when you need an extra trip outside and you’ll have it. No more peeing in the house!

Doodlebug:        What about in my crate?

Me:        No!

Doodlebug:        What about in my water bowl?

Me:        No!

Doodlebug:        What about in Aunt Stella’s water bowl?

Stella:    NO!

Me:     So bulldogs DO have rules.

Stella:     When it comes to my stuff, this bulldog does.





Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Ew! I’m Not Walking Through That! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Someone (possibly Lady Human) has messed up my only walkway to the backyard. My feet are special and I will not risk them by walking through the wetness. Nasty! Lady Human and the others must stop using the backyard as a toilet.

Me:        Excuse me?

Stella:    Sorry, Lady Human. Not this time.

Me:        I’ll have you know that I do not go to the bathroom in the yard! Or anywhere outside! I am a human and our toilets are inside the house.

Stella:    A thing that I have never understood. How unfair! Indoor toilets should be available to all.

Me:        I have a pretty good imagination, but I have a hard time imagining a bulldog using a human toilet. Not saying impossible. Just saying unlikely and slightly dangerous.

Stella:    But the mess! Someone peed on my walkway! I don’t care who did it (though I still doubt your denial). Yuck! I am not walking through that.

Me:        I am hosing it off.

Stella:    All that does is spread it around. Ewww. You expect me to get my tootsies wet with pee water?

Me:        It’s not pee water, Stella. Look, do you want to go out by the driveway – your rainy-day spot?

Stella:    Yes, yes, yes!

Me:        All right. But I’m telling you that I just hosed off all the nasty stuff.

Stella:    My nose tells me different. I’ve told you before. Millions of nasal receptors cannot be wrong.





Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Make Up Your Mind – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and I have decided.

Me:        Are you sure?

Stella:    Yes. No. Yes. Maybe.

Me:        Just let me know when you know.

Stella:    All right. Okay. Now I am ready.

Me:        Good.

Stella:    No, wait! Yes. No. No. I don’t know.

Me:        You are not usually indecisive.

Stella:    What is ‘indecisive’?

Me:        Hesitancy or inability to decide.

Stella:    You decide for me.

Me:        Very well. Go on outside and pee.

Stella:    No! You can’t tell me what to do! Especially when it comes to peeing!

Me:        Then have you decided to stay in for now?

Stella:    Yes. No. Yes. Maybe.

Me:        Go or not, it is not really that big a deal.

Stella:    But what if I go out and one of the bulldogs gets my toys or licks my food bowl? You know how they are.

Me:        I will get the toy back and what’s the big deal if someone does lick your food bowl. It will still be your bowl and all the food in it will be yours.

Stella:    What if I go out and I don’t need to pee.

Me:        No big deal. You can pee later.

Stella:    But what if I don’t go out and you leave on one of your mysterious human trips and I do need to pee.

Me:        I have decided not to go out today at all, so I will be here if you need to go out later.

Stella:    How did you decide to stay in?

Me:        I looked at what I have to do. I realized that there was no real reason for me to go out. We have all the food, supplies, and, yes, treats that we need. Going out today will accomplish nothing necessary or enjoyable. I decided to stay here and work on things I should do here.

Stella:    So, I should look at what I need to do. I need to pee.

Me:        Very well. Decision made.

Stella:    No. Wait. Yes. No. Yes. Maybe.

Me:        Stella, go outside.

Stella:    Whew! What a relief! Thank you for deciding for me.

Me:        I think your bladder would have decided for you at some point anyway.

Stella:    What is a ‘bladder’?

Me:        Never mind.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

In Search of: Paper Towels – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human is searching for something, looking in every cabinet, high and low, up and down, over and under. What is missing?

Me:        Paper towels.

Stella:    Paper?

Me:        Paper.

Stella:    Towels?

Me:        Towels.

Stella:    Oh, the towels that you throw away. The towels that don’t go into the loud, obnoxious, rocking and rolling, jumping, walking, out of control washing machine. By all means, find the paper towels and spare us the ugly noise!

Me:        I prefer to use rags, but this needs to be a quick clean up.

Stella:    Don’t tell me. I already know. Miss Sweetie. Right?


Me:        Right.

Stella:    Because you left the room just as she was ready to, you know, ‘go’.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    Lady Human, don’t leave the room when she is ready to, you know, ‘go’. When you walk out, she gives up hope. She thinks that you will never come back. I have tried to tell her otherwise, but she doesn’t listen.

Me:        How well I know. I can’t find the paper towels. I guess we ran out. I’m just going to use rag towels. There.

Stella:    Lady Human.

Me:        I know, Stella. I have to mop it up.

Stella:    Uh, no, you don’t. Look.

Me:        I can’t believe it.

Stella:    I told you. Miss Sweetie is a bulldog genius.

Me:        She’s mopping up the mess herself. She really is.

Stella:    Those bulldog feet are good for something more than stomping around and pawing humans for attention.

Me:        She doesn’t like the mess any more than the rest of us do.

Stella:    Always remember, Lady Human. Don’t leave the room!



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Doggy Toilet Building – Scary Smart Part 2 – Sweetie the Wonder Dog – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Now I have seen everything. Humans, bulldogs are smart. Stubborn but smart. Some people think that our stubbornness means that we do not understand what we are being asked to do. Not so. We may obey, but we do not comply.

Today I have seen something that rivals…well, you tell the story, Lady Human.

Me:        You saw it, too.

Stella:    Yes, but I was still in extended bulldog wake up mode, so I missed the first part.

Me:        Okay. This morning, everyone had been fed and I normally take Miss Sweetie outside first by herself after breakfast because she gets to playing and forgets to do…you know, her business.

Stella:    Let’s be clear. Her “business” is pooping and peeing. Why don’t humans just say what they mean?

Me:        When I was growing up, bathroom matters were called “business” and everyone knew what that meant.

Stella:    Pooping and peeing. See, I said it. Please go on.

Me:        I always try to get Miss Sweetie out within a minute or two of her finishing breakfast because she is not good at waiting to do her business.

Stella:    Who is? Please continue.

Me:        I was washing some dishes at the sink and I heard her start to move her metal food dish around, indicating that she had finished her food. She steps in it and sometimes sits in it, even though she doesn’t fit and, anyway, I told her I would be with her in a minute. A minute! And to please wait just a minute! And then, there was this sound of water hitting metal and I knew it wasn’t from the sink because I had turned the faucet off and I’m like, “Is there a weird leak somewhere?”

Stella:    And there was! Tell it! Tell it! Tell it!

Me:        I looked over at Miss Sweetie and there she was, sitting beside her food and water bowls, only the empty food bowl was sitting at a 45 degree angle on top of her water bowl and…I can hardly say it…


Stella:    Go ahead! This is the best part.

Me:        And pee was pooled in the bottom of it. She had set up her food bowl as a toilet and she had peed in it because she did not want to wait another minute to go out. Yuck!

Stella:    And?

Me:        And she had perfect aim and she did not spill a drop.

Stella:    I feel like cheering. Let’s hear it for Miss Sweetie, Bulldog Bathroom Champion! How do the humans say it? Oh, yes, hip-hip-hoo…

Me:        Yuck!

Stella:    No, I don’t think that is how it goes. No human cheer ends with the word, “Yuck”.

Me:        Do you know how much hot water and soap I had to use on those bowls before I could even think of using them for her food and water again?

Stella:    No, but I am sure that Miss Sweetie did not give it a second thought. And I am sure that you won’t be asking her to wait just one more minute before her morning bathroom run again.

Me:        Not even half a minute.

Stella:    You realize that Miss Sweetie can’t tell time. A minute to her could be an hour, a week, a month, a year for all she knows. Miss Sweetie believes in basics. If you need to go the bathroom, go to the bathroom. That’s all. She was doing you a favor by setting up her bowl to catch it. She knew how busy you were.

I hope you got a picture of it. You can put it on that little box that you and all the other humans are always staring at.

Me:        I don’t post pictures of pee. For any reason. I did show Tall Man just so I had a witness and he wouldn’t think that I was making it up.

Stella:    I think Miss Sweetie should consider a change in career from bulldog to whoever those humans are who take care of putting together human toilets.

Me:        Plumbers?

Stella:    No, that’s not it.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Property Rights for Dogs – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, am not pleased.

Me:        Uh-oh.

Stella:    If what happened to me had happened to you, you would not be pleased either.

Me:        Okey dokey. If you say so.

Stella:    Puh. Puh. Puh. This is really important! You have to do something!

Me:        It must be for you to be puffing your cheeks out. What is this something that I have to do?

Stella:    Wiggles peed on my sunning spot! Again!

Me:        Well, that’s not so big a deal. We’ll just hose it off.

Stella:    Not good enough! How would you like it if someone peed on your spot?

Me:        Someone has peed on my spot before.

Stella:    Let me guess. Wiggles.

Me:        As a matter of fact, yes.


Stella:    She must be stopped! She is a trespasser! She turns everything into her own private bathroom! What about me? What about my rights? I keep my spot nice and clean. I don’t step on anybody else’s spot. But along comes Wiggles who not only steps on my place but pees on it. PEES ON IT!!!

Me:        It’s not that important…

Stella:    Not important? What if a giant came walking through the neighborhood and said, “Oh, that’s a nice spot” and then peed on our house? Would that be important?

Me:        Yes, but I really think that is unlikely to happen. And we can hose your spot off.

Stella:    Not the point. Property rights for Stella! That is the point! I am filing a claim. I demand that a fence be put up surrounding my sunning spot. A Wiggles-proof zone.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:    How are my rights going to be protected without it? Not fair!

Me:        Such is life. We don’t need yet another fence just for your sunning spot. If you see Wiggles starting to use your spot, tell her to get off and use her own.

Stella:    What has the world come to when you can’t get a human to build a simple fence to keep a bulldog from peeing on your special spot? I’ll bet you would build one quick enough to keep humans from trespassing to pee on your property.

Me:        Actually, we already have. Some humans have no manners.



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





What Do You Mean My Bathroom Is Outside?

This is the messy saga of an uh-oh during the house training of Miss Sweetie.

Miss Sweetie is the other of Wiggles’ puppies that is with us and, as her name indicates, she is sweet. She is not as sharp a tack as her brother, Doodlebug, but that’s all right. She had no plans to go to Harvard anyway.

Unfortunately, she used her brain power to associate her crate with her bathroom. We tried all the suggested techniques for breaking this habit to no avail. We couldn’t figure out her schedule and she wasn’t giving us any clues.

We would spend up to half an hour outside, waiting for her to do her “business” while everyone else was doing theirs, and nothing. We would put her in her crate and, within five minutes, BINGO! She was probably wondering why we kept her outside when all she wanted to do was go into her crate to pee and poop.

About 25% of dogs surrendered to shelters are given up due to house training issues. That was not going to happen to Miss Sweetie. We are the humans. All we needed to do was pump up our brain power and walk in patience. Patience. It sounds so easy.

We reassessed our clumsy efforts by focusing on making sure the crate did not smell like a bathroom to her. It smelled fine to us, but she has a much better nose. Figuring out her body schedule, especially in the mornings, was the next challenge. After weeks of failure, BINGO! The good kind.

I took her outside earlier and by herself. That was a key. When she joined the others in the yard, she got distracted by all the play and never got down to business. When she was the only dog in the yard, she focused. She walked around, she sniffed, and BINGO!

With every success, we poured on immediate praise and watched for the brain change that would let us know that she no longer considered her crate her bathroom.

One day when she and Doodlebug were out together, Doodlebug obliged us with a potty visit of his own. We showered him with praise. Miss Sweetie walked up to us and stared. “Where are my head pets? Why aren’t you loving on me?” It was difficult to ignore her, but it was harder to walk in on her using her crate as a potty.

She looked at her brother for a second, walked over to where he had just peed, sniffed diligently, moved over three more feet, and right before our wondering eyes, she squatted and peed. BINGO! The brain/body connection was made. We instantly lavished her with praise. Miss Sweetie had just graduated to the next level of bathroom hygiene.

Her house training has been frustrating and long. But it wasn’t her fault; we had fouled up somewhere along the line. Yelling wouldn’t help it. I wouldn’t want someone yelling at me about that sort of thing.

It came down to consistency and patience – ours.

“…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.

Stella’s Blog – So Much Rudeness, So Little Time

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

Let me plunge right into my List of Offenders. I have not updated it for a while and, as a result, the list is longer this time. In order from least to most offensive:

  • Me – that’s right. Good ole Stella. I have been perfect this week – quiet, obedient, undemanding. I definitely deserve more treats than I have received. I will speak to Lady Human about that later.
  • Moon the Cat – I have to be honest. It hurts to admit it, but Moon the Cat was better behaved this week than any of the bulldogs, other than me, of course. The only thought that gives me comfort is that the situation will not last. Why? Because CAT!
  • Tiger – You silly thing, you are still challenging Snoopey, just not so often. I see you prancing…yes, prancing…past Snoopey, hoping to provoke her. And you are still barking at Lady Human when she is busy with mysterious human behavior. Tiger, be more considerate of Lady Human’s time. Hey, she wasn’t petting any of the rest of us either.
  • Snoopey – Please stop sticking your lower lip out in that pitiful way and making that high-pitched ruh-ruh-ruh whiny noise from your throat. We know what you’re up to, Attention-Grabber.
  • Squawker the Silkie Chicken – I know you are a chicken and your brain is not as big as mine, but PLEASE, if there is no emergency, STOP THE SQUAWKING! You are the only one doing it. How would you like it if I stood by your chicken run and barked and barked and barked all the live long day? Get the picture? I don’t mind if you ladies cluck quietly among yourselves, just keep it down.
  • WIGGLES! – If I were a human, I would scream. Wiggles, if it’s time to go in your crate, GO IN! Stop arguing about everything. Just because you are a bulldog, you don’t have to be bulldoggy all the time. It is unbecoming. But worse than that, when Lady Human turned her back, YOU PEED IN THE HALL…ON THE BEAN BAG CHAIR!!! That’s where we play with Lady Human! Hey, I like to sit on that chair myself. Well, I used to like it. Now I may not ever be able to make myself sit on it again. And why? You had just been outside for…I don’t know…I can’t tell time, but it was a long while. This is what comes of the humans always saying “Oh, what a sweet dog you are, Wiggles” and “Wiggles, what a good dog!” This will teach them. Peeing indoors is not “sweet” or “good”, Wiggles. If you absolutely have to pee, at least keep in off the furniture and on the floor.

As you can see, people, it was a difficult week to be the queen. Thank you for your kind attention.


Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.