Not Worth Fighting About – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I am in charge! Cut it out, Tiger!

Me: No, actually I am in charge. Cut it out, Tiger! Cut it out, Wiggles!

Wiggles: Tiger put her face right into my nose! I don’t want to smell her face!


Tiger: My face smells good! What are you complaining about? You don’t complain when Miss Sweetie sticks her face in yours and her face stinks!

Miss Sweetie: That is so hurtful. Boo-hoo-hoo.

Me: No, she doesn’t. I clean her up with Malacetic Wipes. She smells like…well…like Malacetic Wipes. What’s the real problem here?

Doodlebug: Okay, I can explain it. Since the beds got moved around, Wiggles and Tiger are all sassy with each other because, when Tiger goes outside, she passes a whole lot closer to Wiggles’ bed, and they can’t keep their eyes to themselves, and so…bark, bark, bark, snarl, snarl, snarl…and then Lady Human has to break it up. That is so unfair to Lady Human!

Me: I agree! So how do we work this out? Because the narrow passage out to the yard is just what it is – narrow. Please! No more eyeballing each other. Exercise a little self control.

Stella: A ridiculous request, Lady Human! Have you forgotten to whom you are speaking?

Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Hey! Do You Want To Fight? – Conversation with Stella, Snoopey, and Tiger

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, and…

Snoopey:   GET OUT OF MY FACE!



Snoopey:   Tiger got in my face. She’s on my ground. If you are the queen, whatever that means, what are you going to do about it?


Tiger:     Nothing! She’s not in charge! Do you want to fight? Let’s see who’s really In charge!


Snoopey:   Whenever you’re ready, b…

Me:        Hold on there! Back off! Tiger, in your crate! Snoopey, in your crate! NOW!

Stella:    Good call, Lady Human. Neutral corners.

Me:        All well and good for the moment, but how do we get past this?

Snoopey:   Hey, Tiger! Do you want to fight? Well, do ya, punk?

Tiger:     Come and get it!

Snoopey:   I so would, but the crate is latched!

Tiger:   Yeah, mine, too! Inconvenient.

Me:        Everybody, calm down!

Snoopey:   I will if she will!

Tiger:   No, I will if she will!

Stella:    I WILL IF THEY BOTH WILL! Why is it so hard to be queen?

Me:   Why are we having this problem again?

Snoopey:   Because Tiger is stupid?

Tiger:     Because Snoopey is selfish?

Stella:    Because low blood sugar! I’m hangry! Treats all around!

Snoopey:   Okay, but me first!

Tiger:     No, me!

Snoopey:   Do you want to fight?

Me:   Now I want to fight. Where are the treats? I need some, too!



Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Throw the Humans a Bone – Stella’s Blog

Hello! I am Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge. I go by many titles, but my favorite is Queen so you all may call me that.

We bulldogs have big reputations. We are adorable. We are comedians, the funny kind. We have big, sloppy mouths with which to kiss you.

But make no mistake. We are not easy. We are a challenge. And boy howdy, that makes me proud. Bulldog proud! We should have our own flag! It could have a picture of me in the center with stars floating all around my big smiling head.

But I digress. (I don’t know what digress means, but Lady Human likes to use it when I am talking so I must be digressing. I think it means that what I am saying is important.)

When I or any of the bulldogs get tense, we are overwhelmed with a desire to chew on something, anything, but the humans are unreasonable. They won’t let us chew on furniture. Something about teeth marks looking bad. You see. As I said. Unreasonable.

Instead, the humans give us tough, hard chew bones. The bones don’t come from animals, but they taste good. Chicken flavored. Peanut butter flavored. Wonderful.

We chew and chew and chew and boom, everything is all right. I don’t know how the humans make those wonderful bones solve all problems. It is just one of their many talents. (Please don’t tell them that I said that they are talented. They would never let me forget it.)

I just wish that the humans would chew on bones themselves. There is a lot of tension being a human. I watch all the things they do, all the coming and going, all the stuff they have to carry and build and remember to do. On top of all that, they have to remember to keep our supply of treats going. No matter what else they do, really, nothing is more important than the treats.

So how can we throw the humans a bone?

I considered offering mine to Lady Human. I would enjoy watching her gnaw on one. I can just imagine her tension melting away. Is Tiger barking too much? Chew a bone. Is Miss Sweetie farting again because she ate green pecans off the ground? Chew a bone. Is Wiggles trash diving? Just chew a bone. In fact, thinking about all that has made me a little wound up. I had better keep that chew bone for myself. Lady Human will have to get her own.

Farewell, humans. Remember to hang in there and chew your bones.

Signed, Queen Stella


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Massage Day – May It Never End – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella McStarFace.  That’s Queen Stella to all of you bulldogs and humans alike.

Me:        Stella, that comes across as demanding and rude.

Stella:   Oh, good. That was what I intended. I am glad I made myself clear.

Me:        You seem a little tense.

Stella:   Wouldn’t you be tense if you had bulldogs barking in your ears all day long, trying to steal your treats and your toys?

Me:        I do.

Stella:   How do you calm down?

Me:        I read. I have a couple of hobbies that I enjoy. I soak my feet in warm water. I may watch a little TV. Not politics though. That does not promote relaxation. Sometimes I give myself a massage.

Stella:   Massage?

Me:        I rub tight muscles in my neck and shoulders. In fact, I got something for you dogs that will massage your skin. It is a glove that I wear on my hand. It has rubbery little nubs on one side and…

Stella:   Me! Me! Me! Now! Now! Now!

Me:        Okay, there’s that demanding tone again.

Stella:   Massage! Massage! Massage!

Me:        All right, here. I just rub your shoulders and down your back and up around your neck. Stella, if you sit up, it is easier.

Stella:   Nope. Nap time.

Me:        Well, I’ll continue the massage later.

Stella:   No! Never stop!

Me:        You wouldn’t want that.

Stella:   Yes, I would.

Me:        After a while, even good things get tired. Excess is to be avoided. Like too much food.

Stella:   Is there ever such a thing as too much food?

Me:        Oh, yes.

Stella:   I would still like to try that.

Me:        I will arrange to be on vacation somewhere else that day.

Stella:   As you wish. More for me.


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Stella’s Blog – An Open Letter to My Sister, Snoopey

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

This is an open letter to my sister, Snoopey McLoud BarkyFace:

Dear Snoopey:

Shut up!!!

You are so tense. Every noise, every hint of a noise, every time one of the humans comes or goes, up you jump and loudly you bark. Now you have me jumping up whenever you jump up. Declare an end to the stupid! I have only had two 10-hour naps today and I am sleep deprived. All thanks to you.

The humans are under pressure because of bad things that happened within miles, but not in our backyard. They are sad and that’s when they need us the most. If you are tense because they are, get over it. Jumping up to bark every few minutes won’t help anybody and, more importantly, it ticks me off!

It is late. Listen to me. I am your sister and I love you. Well, maybe, most of the time. Don’t get any ideas of taking advantage. No treat sharing or toy sharing, so don’t even ask. Sharing is for puppies and sister love extends only so far.

GO TO SLEEP! PLEASE! You will feel better in the morning. If not, we can find an island where you can go on a nice vacation and sunbathe on the warm sand. Lady Human tells me that such places exist. I don’t know that they are dog islands though, so you will probably have to get something called a “passport”.

Good Night, Snoopey! Sweet dreams. Everything will be all right.

Love (sort of),

Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges (and your sister)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Stella’s Blog – Why Are Humans Crazy?

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

Today’s question: Why are humans crazy?

I wish I understood humans better. Not just their long words that don’t translate into bulldoggese, but why they keep bringing in weird stuff that is scary.

The vacuum I understand. It is loud and annoying, but I now know that it will not suck me in. The humans use it to clean up dog hair. Dog hair is not a problem, but it is the humans’ time to waste so I don’t interfere.

The little round boxes that make a false wind are not a problem anymore either. They make us feel cooler and the wind is never strong enough to knock anything down. I will allow them to stay.

Then there are all the strange, loud things that Tall Man does outside. Roaring and sawing and banging. Buzzing that sounds like a giant bee. (Oh, no! Not giant insects! Not again! If we are really quiet, maybe they will go away.)

And now, the latest horror. A LONG RED POLE with a SPONGE attached to one end. Why is that so frightening? I HAVE NO IDEA, BUT IT IS!

How would you like it if a long red stick with a sponge showed up in your home and someone started dipping it in water and pushing it around the floor? Exactly! You wouldn’t like it at all. We sure didn’t. We barked and yelped and told it to leave. We didn’t care that Tall Man was the one pushing it. The awful pole with the sponge had fooled him into bringing into the house. I don’t know what it was up to, what its evil plan was, but all the bulldogs agreed that it needed to leave.

Of course, Moon the Cat was no help, as usual. She slept through the whole thing or pretended to. She may have planned the whole thing. How do we know what she is doing when she is out of sight?

How can we bulldogs stop these frightening things from happening? How long will the humans bring crazy, scary things into the house?

Well, at least things have settled down…wait, what is that in Tall Man’s hands? It is a LONG GREEN POLE with a SAW on the end of it. Humans! Will the nightmare never end?


Have a nice day!



Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.





Being Quiet When Others Aren’t


Quiet was a precious commodity that I discounted for much of my life. I grew up as an only child and my friends called me lucky. There were no sibling rivalries or fights. Little was required to be shared. I watched what I wanted to on TV. Well, I did have to share several hours a week with my parents. But the most special gift I possessed without realizing it was the freedom to retreat to my room and think or read or listen to music by myself. The greatest gift I possessed was quiet.

We have lived through a week of the unusual, including a bad automobile accident that my son was involved in last night. He is fine, as are the two young men who were in the vehicle that hit him. By God’s great grace, everyone walked away from a wreck that the officer at the scene told my son should have claimed the lives of those teenagers. After their car struck my son’s, they rolled over. Their tire tracks are on the side of my son’s SUV.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that seat belts don’t matter. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that God is not merciful. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that dogs can’t sense your emotions.

These have been barking days. I mean that literally. And figuratively.

Without having directly lived through any of the events of this week, the bulldogs have sensed the tension, the unrelenting pressure. They don’t know how to put it into our words, so they put it into theirs.

I have never heard these dogs bark so much, so loudly, so continuously as I have over the past few days. Especially Tiger and Miss Sweetie.

Why Miss Sweetie, I don’t know. She is young and opinionated. She excites easily and is hard to calm down. Any new twist to our schedule intrigues her and disturbs her. She is bullheaded and bulldoggy. She is sensitive.

Tiger I understand better. Tiger understands pain. This next week will be the one year anniversary of the dog attack that almost took her life before she came to us. In fact, she came to us as a result of that fight with one of her previous pack members. When I have been in pain for any reason, I see Tiger wince. (For Tiger’s whole story, see Saving Tiger Parts 1 – 4 in the archives of this blog).

When the nonstop barking begins, I can easily fall into annoyance, but I have no right to. Their barking is the only way they have of showing that they know something is wrong. In our house. In our world.


God bless these dogs for caring enough to bark.



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Conversations with Stella – The Crying Sky

Me:        Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge, is back for another conversation about her important question of the day. So what has you perturbed today, Stella?

Stella:   First of all, QUEEN STELLA to you. Others may call me “Your Majesty”.

Me:        Nope.

Stella:   The sky has been crying too much.

Me:        We have been having a wet spring.

Stella:   Why?

Me:        It would take a long to explain and I’m not sure you would understand. I ‘m not sure that I do. Some years are rainy and some are dry.

Stella:   Is the sky sad?

Me:        The sky doesn’t have emotions like that. There are a lot of things going on up there.

Stella:   Is the Creator angry? I heard the big booms over and over again the past few nights. And light was flashing outside.

Me:        Those were thunderstorms. The Creator is far more powerful than a thunderstorm. We can’t even imagine how powerful. If the Creator were angry with us, a thunderstorm would be the least of our concerns.

Stella:   It was scary.

Me:        But you were safe even though something scary was going on.

Stella:   Snoopey was so stupid. She started barking and all that did was make things louder.

Me:        The storms frighten her, too. She was just trying to warn us.

Stella:   Stupid Snoopey! Barking at the sky!

Me:        But you were scared, too.

Stella:   Yes, but I didn’t bark like a silly head. I hunkered down in my bed and covered my face like a smart dog. Lady Human, you talk to the Creator, don’t you?

Me:        Yes, it’s called prayer.

Stella:   I thought so because sometimes you are talking when no humans are around and you aren’t talking to me or the bulldogs. Or to that silly cat. Would you ask the Creator to stop the sky from crying so much and so loudly?

Me:        I’m not going to ask for the rain to stop. We need it for the lakes and rivers and fields. Summer is coming. But I can ask for moderate rain, not so much all at once.

Stella:   Is the Creator mean?

Me:        No, He is kind.

Stella:   Then why are there scary thunderstorms?

Me:        Maybe He allows them so we will remember to look up.


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.






Conversations with Stella – Language Barrier

I’ll jump right into my conversation with Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge, with a question:

Me:        Stella, what in the world did you say to Wiggles that got her so wound up and freaked out?

Stella:   You know Wiggles. You don’t have to say much to her to freak her out.

Me:        But she was more agitated than I have ever seen her. I really want to understand how you all communicate with each other. You weren’t even talking at first…if that whiny weird bulldog type raw raw rah noise can be called ‘talking’…

Stella:   How insulting! Of course, it’s talking!

Me:        I’m never sure.

Stella:   What else would it be?

Me:        High pitched yawning. Low pitched burping.

Stella:   No, those are different. Allow me to demonstrate…

Me:        That’s okay. Not right now. What I witnessed between you two was, first, you calling her over to your crate and Wiggles responding.


Stella:   Wiggles always does what I say.

Me:        We’ll get into that later. Wiggles was relaxed and then you two shared a silent, nose to nose conversation, no noises, just staring at each other, and Wiggles completely changed. She stood up straight. She hopped around Stella style…

Stella:   Thank you for naming that particular movement after me. I did invent it.

Me:        While I doubt that, calling it the Stella Hop is the easiest way for me to refer to it. Back to the point, you then verbally aimed Wiggles at the cat. What did you say to Wiggles that transformed her in an instant from a laid back, cat-friendly bulldog to a bulging-eyed bundle of nerves?

Stella:   Simple. I said, “Are you a bulldog or a cat? If you’re a bulldog, start acting like one! Now, go chase that cat off the piano!” And that’s when you interfered.

Me:        I am a human. What I do is correction, not interference.

Stella:   Well, it interfered with my plan.

Me:        I calmed her down, that’s all. I just wish I could understand what you all are saying, but the sounds make no sense to me.

Stella:   And you believe humans make sense. You never stop barking. Sit! Come! Go! No! By the way, are those two the same word, just with a different accent? And even after we do what we think you want us to do, you keep barking. It is all so confusing.

Me:        Sort of the way Wiggles was confused when you told her to chase the cat and she didn’t want to or understand why.

Stella:   No, that’s completely different. I can see that we still have a language barrier.

Me:        At least we’re working on it.


Stella:   Humph! Stupid cat! Why can’t she act more like a bulldog? We outnumber her. You can hear us coming. She pads around on those silly soft feet and all of a sudden, WHOA! She’s right behind you. Hey, did you see where she sneaked into your room and knocked over some of your stuff?

Me:        Yes.

Stella:   You’ll never catch a bulldog knocking your stuff over or…oh…well, never mind.


“There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.”

(1 Corinthians 14:10 KJV)



Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.










Don’t Freak Out

Strange events have taken over the news lately, happenings that turn the pressure up on everyone 24 hour a day, 7 days a week. We get no vacations from them, no pauses, no truces, no answers, or so it seems.

I believe in answers. I believe they exist and I believe that we can discover them. We may miss the mark, overshooting our target or undershooting it, but we can aim again. And I believe that in the center of every question and answer, in the bull’s-eye, is God.

Sometimes the problem is that we misinterpret what we see or hear because we don’t have all the facts. Just like last week when the bulldogs went nuts because they saw something strange in the backyard and sounded the alarm. (For two perspectives on what happened, check out last week’s posts, Stella’s Blog – MONSTER ALERT! – Special Edition and The First Thing is Don’t Panic.)

The bulldogs serve as barometers of tension. They make me aware that I am not aware.

Last night, we turned on the backyard bug zapper because the flying insect population had grown exponentially over the past few warm weeks of our early spring. Electrical buzzing and popping punctuated the air around the patio as kamikaze bugs flew into the light.

No problem, right? Wrong. The dogs would not go into the yard because they had to pass by the crackling, sparking box that was suspended in the corner. It was yards away from their path and the zapper had been hanging there every day, but now it had come to life. It did not occur to me that there was a problem because there was no surprise for me. I had understanding of the situation. The dogs did not.

Nor did they understand the constant hammering this morning as a neighbor had a new roof put on their house. There was a strange noise. It didn’t stop. They could not see its source. Uh-oh, better not go out in the yard.

In each case, a little patient coaxing overcame the barriers. What helped most was when we walked ahead of them into the yard and let them follow us. As long as we were present and in the lead, everything was all right.

So when our scary shows up, we need to remember: God is present. He is leading. Follow Him.

“For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”  Isaiah 41:13 KJV


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Dog Ruminations (or Chewing Things Over)

The Miscellanea of Living with Dogs

Dogs are not ruminants, that is they do not ruminate because they do not have a rumen in their stomachs. Without a rumen, their food (the plant kind) does not  ferment and then regurgitate into their mouths for further processing the way a cow’s  or a goat’s does , for example. The word “ruminate” comes from the Latin word ruminare meaning “to chew over again”.

The meaning of rumination for humans is quite different, though we would do better to chew our food more thoroughly the first time. I have been ruminating about the way dogs think – or don’t think. When I watch them, I get a sense that there is something going on inside their heads at least once in a while.

For instance, I think that dogs don’t really care about birthdays. They just want the food and the excitement. Any day will do. I’ve pretty much adopted that attitude myself over the years. That doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate them. Any excuse for a party. That’s what most dogs would say.

I do think that dogs wonder at times how we humans move through the world. At least that is the look they have on their faces. “How do they do it? They seem to know where they are going.”  If only they realized how wrong they are and how clueless we are. No, better for them not to know.

What are dogs thinking about when they stare into space and nothing else is going on? Are they daydreaming? Or are they trying to figure out what that weird thing is that is sitting on the piano?

How do dogs measure productivity? Just by doing what they are asked to do? When they save someone, do they respond, “I have simply done my duty.” Probably. That is the attitude we are to have as well.

“…when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”  Luke 17:10 KJV

I hear the news, public or personal, and I stare into a puppy’s tiny eyes, and realize that they will never understand any of what is going on and I am happy for them. Their world is focused on us and on one moment at a time. And on food and toys and games, of course.

When I am tense, they sense my tension. I wish I were strong enough not to share it with them or anyone else. So. I play calming dog music, recorded at the right decibel and rhythm to calm dogs. It may be working. I feel a little calmer already.


©2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved