If It’s Not Food, DON’T EAT IT! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am grossed out. I think that is the right way to say that I am grossed out.

Me:        Are you disgusted?

Stella:    Yes.

Me:        Is your stomach turned?

Stella:    Yes.

Me:        Then ‘grossed out’ is the proper term.

Stella:    Do you know that Doodlebug threw up? A whole bunch?


Me:        Yes, I certainly do.

Stella:    Doodle! Why would you do such a thing in the house?

Doodlebug:   Uuuhhh. Yuck.

Me:        Well, let’s see here. There are one…two…three leaves, completely intact. Were you eating leaves earlier?

Doodlebug:   Uuuhhh.

Me:        Don’t eat leaves.

Snoopey:   I’ve eaten leaves and THAT didn’t happen.

Me:        Probably different leaves. There is an oak leaf and 2 heart-shaped leaves I don’t recognize. I’ll have to do a search of the yard. Doodlebug, don’t eat leaves!

Doodlebug:   It’s all right, Lady Human. I feel better now.

Stella:    Gross! If you are going to make yourself sick, please have the courtesy to the rest of us to do it OUTSIDE!

Doodlebug:   I wasn’t trying to make myself sick. I was minding my own business and it just happened.

Stella:    Since when does it just happen? Stop eating stuff you find in the yard. Leaves, and yes, I will say it out loud. Poop!

Miss Sweetie:    Ummm! Aunt Stella said an ugly word. She said ‘poop’.

Me:        Yes, poop is a big issue since y’all came.

Miss Sweetie:    Funny word. Poop. Poop. Poop. Poop.

Me:        It’s okay to say ‘poop’. It is not okay to eat it. So there! I said that! Doodle, are you listening?

Doodlebug:   The leaves made me sick. They were stuck to the poop.

Stella:    That’s the point. You wouldn’t have eaten the leaves if you hadn’t been eating the…you know…don’t make me say it again.

Miss Sweetie:   Poop. I said it for you, Aunt Stella.

Me:        Okay. The mess is cleaned up. Can we move on to a more pleasant subject?

Stella:    Sure, but first, all this talk about…you know what…has made me want to go outside and…you know what.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




Leave It Outside – Stella’s Blog

I, Stella McStarFace the First, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, hereby issue this edict:

 To All Olde English Bulldogges within the sound of my voice:

The following shall from henceforth be left outside the house (Personally, I don’t care what you bring in. Lady Human told me I had to talk to you all about this.)

 POOP – No matter how good it smells to you, it smells bad to the humans; therefore, no poop is to be deposited or brought inside. I mean, really? Do I have to say this? My fellow bulldogs, you know that poop belongs outside – always! If you find poop attractive (which to me is unbelievable), go ahead and sniff at it, but DON’T NOT PICK IT UP. LEAVE IT OUTSIDE!

 STICKS – You do not know where that stick has been. It is dead and fell off of a tree. The tree didn’t want it. Why do you? It may contain ants or (yuck!) spiders. The humans have given you tough chew toys. Gratitude, bulldogs! Don’t chew junk when you have better.

 MUD – Wipe your paws on the outdoor step. If the puppy pool is full of water, rinse your feet in there and do not return to the dirty yard before you go inside. Why should your paws prints be all over the floor. I have to walk there, too.

 ROTTEN CHICKEN EGGS – Don’t let the chickens fool you. If the egg were any good, they would not be shoving it in your direction. They are laughing at you, bulldogs. That’s what that cackling sound is.

 PERSONAL CONFLICTS – Lady Human insisted that I address this particular problem. Apparently, this is not something you can carry in your mouth although she says that our mouths are part of the problem. If you don’t like another bulldog, LEAVE IT OUTSIDE! We all have to live together. That means NO FIGHTING! If another bulldog ticks you off, so what? Nobody gets along with everyone else all the time. LEAVE IT OUTSIDE! It would be better for everyone if you just forgot about it and came in the house peaceable, ready to eat, drink, and enjoy toys and treats.

 In conclusion, Lady Human asked that I put this in my edict. It is the Great Creator’s desire that we all live in peace. She says that humans struggle with this as well.

 “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14 KJV

 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18 KJV

Signed, Queen Stella


 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.








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.

Watch Where You Step

Pooper scoopers are one of the truly great inventions of the past century. They are a real necessity if you have more than one bulldog. Or even if you have only one bulldog. With one-handed operation, the pooper scooper “bites” the poop from off the ground. The same hand can open it and dispose of the poop in the trash receptacle of your choice without direct contact. Done and done!

Of course, I have seen a bulldog accomplish the same thing, only the poop doesn’t get deposited in a trash can. Wiggles is particularly adept at poop disposal. I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say that every once in a while she darts away and refuses all orders to return until, well, she returns “empty-handed”, so to speak. Also good at trash diving, Wiggles is our waste disposal specialist.

Poop scooping aside, we still have to watch our step in the yard. Dogs can be selective about their bathroom spots and go out of their way to stay out of our way. A couple of ours prize convenience. They step out the door, walk a few feet, sniff the air, and say,”Yep! Here!”

I have learned to watch my step, even away from the bulldogs. If I’m not paying attention, it’s way too easy to “step” into something that is nasty and smells bad. And that odor follows you around until it gets washed off, sometimes with a power hose.

And if you aren’t careful, you can smear that mess onto other people and things. I remember when I was very young, we were leaving my grandparent’s house. I was all dressed up and was wearing a beloved red coat. Once in the car, we started noticing an odor and pretty quickly, my parents discovered that I had stepped in dog poop. It was on my lovely, little patent leather shoes and ON MY RED COAT!

Everything had to be thoroughly cleaned. I never looked at my red coat quite the same way again. And I had no idea that I had stepped in something stinky until we got closed up with it.

Pooper scoopers can’t handle a lot of the filthy stuff that gets left in our paths. For that stuff, we have to watch where we step.


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Disorderly Conduct, Part 1

As Stella the Olde English Bulldogge (self-styled “Queen Stella”) sees fit to pop onto this blog space to air her own opinions about the misbehavior of others, I am taking the same tack to point out some bulldog – and Siamese cat – disorderly conduct. While the incidents on this list may appear trite, taken together they show a trend, namely, that bulldogs – and one cat in particular – engage in disorderly conduct on a regular basis. Unlike Stella’s List of Offenders on her blog posts, the following incidents appear in no particular order of disorder or intensity.

  1. My sweet little burnt orange clay dish was minding its own business in the patio when someone with perfect aim pooped right in the middle of it. I almost threw it away rather than clean it. Even cleaned, I am always going to remember the perfect target one of the dogs made of it. (Still and all, it was a good shot. The dish was small and sitting at a difficult angle. But be that as it may, no disorderly points are deducted for accuracy. The future plants won’t mind, I hope.)
  1. Snoopey ran in from outside, saw Moon, our cat, whirled around, and rammed her big bulldoggy rear end into the shelf by my chair, tumbling my pencil holders, spilling them everywhere. And she didn’t even chase the cat. And she didn’t help me pick up the pens and pencils either which was no doubt just as well since dog slobber does not make them write more smoothly.
  1. Inexplicably, the dogs have chosen a spot two feet behind my chicken-watching chair in the backyard as their new favored potty spot. Yay! The pleasant odors of each season are smothered by a new fragrance. (No, not inexplicably. It is just one more way for them to say that they love me and want to be near me. I should be honored. Should be.)
  1. Moon the cat has been testing the boundaries of our Bulldoggy Nation by walking as slowly as possible past the sleeping dogs. That is innocent enough, you may think, but I know her better than that. Everything is set up so that she can move anywhere without passing by the dogs at all. What she is doing is a test to see just how long it will take them to wake up and realize that she is there, taunting them and their less than sharp noses. And when one of them does note her proximity, the whole place erupts into a spectacular, extremely annoying display of frantic barking. Annoying to whom? Well, not to Moon who has by then simply strolled away.

So if you enjoy voting (and who doesn’t, especially this year), please vote for your choice of the most Disorderly Conduct on the list and post it in the Comment section below.

“Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV

©2016 H.J Hill All Rights Reserved.