Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy, an Advice Column for Dogs by a Dog

By Nancy Holmes | Oct 27, 2017

I am a Carolina Dog, a breed that long ago owned Native American people. We were designed by natural selection to be so intelligent and physically superior that we survived without humans. My great-grandfather was caught from the wild. I can offer advice based on the natural instincts and abilities of wild dogs. My human and I have had lots of training classes and other experiences. Some humans call themselves Mom or Dad of their dogs, but I call my human, tongue in cheek, Boss. Much as I love her, I admit she has many of the same odd notions as most humans, so I can relate to other dogs with problem humans. If I can’t help, at least I can offer sympathy, and we can have fun talking about our amazing humans. Please send your questions! Bammy, 280 Pond Rd. Newcastle, ME 04553, or email:


About Helping Boss

One of the most important things we can do for our humans is getting them to actually do something! I suppose Boss thinks she’s doing something when she plays with paper things – which she does for hours at a time. She has stacks of things like different colored blocks of wood except they are really lots of papers stuck together at one edge. She just sits and looks at them instead of going outdoors!

Another really boring thing is the board that rattles when she taps on it with her fingers. There’s a sort of window behind it where things move but it doesn’t look like outdoors. There is a use for that, I know because that is how we write the column for Downeast Dog News. But she rattles on and on, long after she’s done with our work. What can be so interesting? I just fall asleep.

I love to help her in the kitchen. Once in awhile, she spills something, and I’m right there to clean up. When she trips over me, she says, “Out-of-the-kitchen!” And I run out backwards as fast as I can. She shares something yummy with me before I sneak back in. (Definitely worth the risk of getting my paw stepped on.) The best part is when she asks, “Do you want to lick the pot?” I jump up and down on my hind legs to say, “Yes!” Sometimes she warns me, “Hot!” Then I sneak up on the pot and give it a quick bat with my paw. It’s kind of like catching hornets. After I paw it around for awhile, it gets weak and I can lick it safely.

I am most useful outdoors. In fact, I’ve heard her tell people that part of my job description is getting her outside. If she hasn’t gone out by the end of the afternoon, I have to insist. Rain, cold, snow – it doesn’t matter. I bark to go out, but when she opens the door, I just wait for her to go out first. Back and forth to the door, whine, play bow, nose pokes. If she still won’t budge, I have to get serious. In quick succession, I yank the bedding out of my crate, bring her things off the kitchen shelves, scratch up the rug to get something out from under the sofa, and tip over the wastebasket.

Go-for-a-walk is best, of course. But there’s lots to do outside. Just yesterday, I helped Boss gather walnuts. They taste really yucky, but she pays me a treat for each one so it’s worth it. She shows me a walnut and says, “Get the other one.” They look like green tennis balls, so they are hard to see in the grass, but it’s easy to find them by their weird smell. Not something you’d want to eat! She takes them from me quickly before I spit them out and gives me something nice to take the bad taste out of my mouth.

A really fun job is digging holes. I dig shallow holes for cool ground to lie on when it’s hot or deeper holes to get something out of – like a mouse. But she digs holes to put something into or just to move dirt from one place to another. What is that about? But that’s what she wants, so I get beside her and help her dig.

So, my friends, get those humans up and out! They’ll love you for it.