That’s My Baby! – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The human puppy visited again today.

Me:        Stella…

Stella:    Oh, all right. Lady Human insists that humans do not have puppies, so I will humor her. The little human visited again today. Humans do not grow as fast as dogs which means that the human baby is still very small compared to a grown human. They don’t speak as clearly as grown humans either.

Me:        And this baby does not understand bulldogs or their language yet. She thinks you all are just very loud.

Stella:    Do we scare her? Are our faces too ugly for her?

Me:        You are the largest dogs she has ever seen. I don’t think you scare her as much as you concern her. And no, I don’t think she considers you ugly, just different. She is still very young.

Stella:    How long did it take for her eyes to open?

Me:        Humans are born with their eyes open.

Stella:    No! Really? That’s cool. The only thing we have open those first days are our noses and our mouths.

Me:        The most important items for a puppy, no doubt.

Stella:    I heard the human puppy…sorry, I mean the baby. Humans are so picky about what they call things. Anyway, I stayed real quiet outside her door. She was making the most wonderful noises. They weren’t human words that I know, but they were beautiful. They sounded so…bulldoggy.

Me:        They did?

Stella:    Yes. Especially when she got to one sound that I love and recognize so well. It was when she said, “Pffft!” It made me so proud. She will make a great bulldog someday.

Me:        Stella, we’ve talked about why that won’t happen.

Stella:    I know. I know. Still, she can say “Pffft!” at such an early age. That’s my human baby!




Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Human Puppies – Conversations with Stella and Snoopey

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. There is a stranger in the house.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    It cries and squeals like a young one.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    A puppy?

Me:        No.

Snoopey:   No more bulldogs! No more bulldogs!

Me:        Not a bulldog. Not a dog at all. She is a human baby.

Stella:    A puppy?

Me:        No, Stella, we have been over and over this. A human baby is not a puppy.

Snoopey:   No more bulldogs! No more bulldogs!

Me:        Snoopey, hush. The baby is trying to nap.

Snoopey:   Which reminds me, I could use a nap about now, too. Good night.

Me:        Good, because I could stand for all of you to quiet down.

Stella:    How can we quiet down when there is a stranger in the house?

Me:        She is a little baby. She will not be here long. She is just visiting today.

Stella:    Puppies are a lot of work and when they are around, people don’t pay as much attention to me and that’s not fair.

Me:        You can share part of an afternoon with a baby.

Stella:    Will there be other babies?

Me:        Probably not. At least not very often, though this little one will visit from time to time.

Stella:    Lady Human! Did you have a puppy?

Me:        I had some puppies years ago…oh, now you’ve got me doing it! Humans do not have puppies! We have baby humans! I did not give birth to this baby. She is a relative of mine.

Stella:    She sounds like a puppy to me. I think you are trying to sneak in another bulldog.

Me:        Babies are a lot of work, but I’m not sure that they are as much work as bulldogs.

Stella:    Thank you, Lady Human. That is a fine compliment. We try very hard to be a lot of work. If we are easy, we are not doing our job.

Snoopey: (snore) No more bulldogs. More time for me.




Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Pretty Is As Pretty Does – Conversations with Stella

Stella:    Whatcha doin’, Lady Human?

Me:        I’m sewing some bling on an old top to make it look better. I want to look good come Saturday.

Stella:    Saturday?

Me:        That’s what we call the seventh day of the week. Each day has a name.

Stella:    And humans are supposed to look good on Saturday?

Me:        Well, I need to look good on this coming Saturday. My youngest child is getting married.

Stella:    Your puppy?

Me:        No, Stella. Human child. Not puppy. Remember?

Stella:    What is ‘married’?  Is that like taking a long, long nap?

Me:        It can feel like that sometimes, but, no, it is when 2 people start a life together. This Saturday is my daughter’s wedding day. There will be a ceremony.

Stella:    A ceremony. I understand. Like when a dog buries a bone.

Me:        Not exactly. Humans dress up for our ceremonies. I am trying to look decent for this wedding, but I’m not sure I’m succeeding.

Stella:    Humans worry about silly things. Your child is getting married and you are thinking about how your clothes look.

Me:        Humans can be very judgmental.

Stella:    Your clothes don’t make you. Your heart makes you. If I were getting married, I would want you to be there, no matter what you were wearing. I love you for your heart, Lady Human, not for your clothes.

Me:        Thank you, Stella. I love you for your heart, too, not for your…well…lack of clothes.

Stella:    Hey, are you calling me naked?

Me:        Yeah.

Stella:    Fair enough.



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Puppy Days of Old – Conversations with Stella

Stella:    Lady Human!

Me:        I’m here! No need to shout.

Stella:    Where are you?

Me:        Here in the hall, digging through old boxes of family pictures.

Stella:    My family?

Me:        No, sorry. I don’t have any old pictures of your family. Or even of you. You were grown by the time you came to us.

Stella:    Do you remember your puppy days?

Me:        No.

Stella:    That’s too bad.

Me:        Because as we have discussed before, I was never a puppy.

Stella:    But you were little once.

Me:        Yes, I was a human child.

Stella:    Too bad you weren’t a puppy. We could compare memories.

Me:        What puppy memories do you have?

Stella:    Fuzzy ones. My mom. Her warm body. Her milk which was the best thing ever.

Me:        Better than food and treats now?

Stella:    Maybe not better. Different but good. And then there were my brothers and sisters. Squirmy little varmints. Always pushing me aside so they could eat first, just because I was smaller.

Me:        Did your sister, Snoopey, push you aside?

Stella:    Well, no.

Me:        Because I heard a story about you and Snoopey from when you were young.

Stella:    Uh-oh.

Me:        Yeah. I heard that you and Tiger’s mom picked on Snoopey. Is that true?

Stella:    I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may prove that you are right.

Me:        Stella?

Stella:    Well, Tiger’s mom made me do it.

Me:        Stella?

Stella:    Oh, all right. When you are smaller than everybody and some big dog befriends you, sometimes you go along with their bulldog bullying and….maybe you do some things that you shouldn’t…and maybe later you regret being a jerk. So there.

Me:        Especially when the dog you picked on ended up being your pack leader?

Stella:    Hey, sisters play tricks on each other.

Me:        I wouldn’t know myself.

Stella:    Because you were an only puppy.

Me:        Child.

Stella:    Whatever.

Me:        Do you ever wonder if how you all treated her is what made Snoopey the pack leader she is now, always looking out for everybody else?

Stella:    Everybody except Tiger.

Me:        Yeah, they still don’t get along, do they?

Stella:    Nope.

Me:        I am glad that you two do.

Stella:    WAAAAHHH! Lady Human, I was so mean! Why was I so mean?

Me:        You were a puppy. You’ve grown up since then. Don’t cry. It was a long time ago in dog years.

Stella:    Are you calling me old?



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dogs’ Tails – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge’s Queen. I am demanding an answer from Lady Human.

Me:        Yes, you are demanding.

Stella:    Is that a human insult?

Me:        No, it is a human observation.

Stella:    Well, I have a bulldog observation. Humans say frightening things.

Me:        Like what?

Stella:    I heard young humans saying it:

What are little boys made of? Snips and snails and PUPPY DOGS’ TAILS

Human boys are made of the tails of puppies!

Me:        Now, Stella…

Stella:    Don’t you Stella me! The young humans were playing a game and they said it over and over. So that is how you humans get more boys. You take the tails of innocent puppies. It makes me cry.

Me:        Stella, it is a children’s silly rhyme from almost two hundred years ago. Children like rhymes. So do I. They are rhythmic and easy to remember and fun and they don’t usually mean what they say. Human boys are NOT, I REPEAT, NOT made from puppy dogs’ tails. They come from humans just as puppies come from dogs.

Stella:    Eeewww! Nasty!

Me:        Not Eeewww Nasty. It’s the way the Great Creator designed things and He certainly did not design Eeewww Nasty and He did not design human boys to come from puppy tails.

Stella:    The young humans said that little girls were made of sugar and spice and everything nice.

Me:        Don’t get your hopes up. That is no truer than the rhyme about little boys.

Stella:    Awww. It sounded delicious.

Me:        Stella!

Stella:    Not that I would ever eat little girls, Lady Human. I simply would have enjoyed sitting nearby and sniffing them. Sugar. Spice. Everything nice. Oh well…Now if you will just explain what “snips” are.



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




Beware the Giant Hand from the Sky – Conversations with Stella

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

Imagine that you are asleep and a giant hand reaches out of the sky and picks you up. You can’t see it, not because you are squeezing your eyes shut, but because you are a baby puppy and your eyes have not opened yet.

Me:        Are you making fun of my blog post from the other day?

Stella:    Imagine that the giant hand holds you while a weird, squishy, rubber bottle nipple is pushed against your mouth. Imagine that the owner of the giant hand thinks that you should be grateful for the rubbery nipple, but you don’t let weird things into your tiny puppy mouth.

Me:        Excuse me?

Stella:    You are excused, Lady Human. Imagine that the nasty, mixed-up, powdered puppy milk in the bottle is all you have to look forward to for weeks until you can eat real food.

Me:        It is not nasty. It is scientifically formulated milk replacement for puppies that don’t have access to their mother’s milk – orphans and puppies whose moms don’t understand how to take care of them.

Stella:    Would you like to eat ‘scientifically’ food? Because I don’t know what ‘scientifically’ means, but it does not sound appealing.

Me:        No, but I would eat it if that were all that was available.

Stella:    I am not making fun of you, Lady Human. I would never do that. Well, maybe once in a while. Humans are funny creatures. I just don’t like it that the puppies you are helping have to be helped by you.

Me:        It happens and people help.

Stella:    I am glad it did not happen to me.

Me:        I am, too. One day, it will not happen to anyone. The Great Creator will see to that.

Stella:    Well, if His Hand is the giant hand that reaches for me from the sky, that will be all right.

“But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”  (I Corinthians 13:10 KJV)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Don’t Push Away the Hand that Feeds You

Imagine being blind and deaf and an orphan. You are only a few hours old. Smell, touch, and taste are the only senses that guide you. Your mouth craves something warm to suckle, but there is nothing within reach. There should be someone; your instincts tell you that, but that someone is unable to care for you, and why does not matter.

Warmth takes hold of you, not pleasant and pillowy, but skinny, bony, and grasping. You strain and wriggle against it, but it won’t let you go. It presses a strange softness against your mouth. You fight that, too. It is not as soft as it should be.  It doesn’t smell right. Finally, you give up and open your lips to receive an odd liquid and your suckling instinct kicks in. The liquid does not taste quite right either, but it fills your hungry belly and now you can sleep.

All of us have been helpless. No one likes it. It is frightening. The funny thing is that often, when help comes, we resist it because we misunderstand. The help does not look like what we expected. Our instincts rebel.

I have watched tiny, un-mothered puppies fight the offer of a bottle nipple full of milk because it does not smell the way their brains say it should smell, or because there is no warm body behind it. Patience wears down the resistance though. The puppies’ survival instinct and hunger win the argument. The little dogs accept the help.

I have fought God more than once. He extended His help to me, His wisdom, His way of doing things, and I didn’t recognize it. It didn’t look, smell, or taste like what I expected or thought that I wanted. Other times, I recognized that God was behind the proffered help, but I didn’t like the shape of His solution. While I refused His help, I only delayed my own deliverance.

So what have I learned from dogs?

A wise puppy latches on even if that bottle is not his first choice.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46:1 KJV)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.



Yuck! What Are You Chewing?

Like many animals, like many humans, our bulldogs explore the world with their mouths. Next to their noses and their eyes, their tongues tell them a lot about the goodness of life.

So why did I find Miss Sweetie, one of Wiggles’ almost grown puppies, chewing on a twisted piece of wire this morning?

She didn’t just happen to find the wire. She had to work for it. She had wrenched it from the screen covering for the small fire pit in the patio. I found her standing on top of the cold fire pit with the steel framed cover in her mouth, jerking it back and forth. And then she dropped it. And that’s when the chewing began.

I dug my fingers into her wide bulldoggy mouth and felt around until I located the foreign object. I am glad that the dogs we have to deal with don’t mind that kind of attention. I never fear being bitten. I am equally glad that I don’t get grossed out by bulldog mouth slime.

The twisted wire I removed from her mouth formed a figure eight, sort of, about half an inch long. I refused to let myself imagine what might have happened had I not been there to retrieve it and Miss Sweetie had swallowed it. She didn’t. I was there. Praise the LORD!

The question I did ask myself (not Miss Sweetie – she doesn’t answer my questions) is what was the big attraction? She had just had breakfast. She has a really cool Nylabone chew toy that she acts as though she enjoys. She loves sticks to carry around to drop in random places and there were plenty of various sized sticks around the yard.

So when you have been given all these things, why fight a screen cover to wrest a bit of wire off? Fire-scorched, dirty, ash-covered, crumpled wire. Can it really be that interesting? Does it really taste that good?

I suspect that Miss Sweetie is a wire-chewer like her mom. Wiggles has single-pawed been responsible for more wire and phone charger damage in the house than all the other dogs put together. Still there are far fresher wires to engage in a good round of old-fashioned chewing than what Miss Sweetie picked.

Maybe it was the challenge. Maybe it was the fight. No, you old screen! You’re not going to defeat me!

I’ve fallen into those habits myself. I have overeaten. “Just one more bite. I can’t leave that piece on the plate.”

I have put stuff in my mouth that barely passed muster as food.

My teeth have pulled and torn beef jerky apart that probably could have hauled a car.

I need to be more careful about what I put in my mouth.

I need to be more careful about what I chew on – physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally. Not everything digests well. Not everything is meant to go on the inside.


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.