Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy an Advice Column for Dogs by a Dog

About Smelling
By Nancy Holmes | Aug 01, 2018

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 dog, 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:


Dear Friends,

Don't you wish we could smell each other while I write and you read?  Then we would know so much about each other. I could tell if you were feeling friendly or not and even what you had for breakfast.   I'm male.  Are you male or female?  It doesn't make a lot of difference to me anymore, but I used to get pretty excited when I met a female, and I hoped we could get to be good friends – or more than friends. And I was always a little stiff when I met a male, thinking he might like to be top dog even though clearly, I was top dog.  I still like bitches better, but I like to play with any friendly dog, so it doesn't matter so much once I know I am not going to be attacked.

Having a good nose can be frustrating.  A dog food kibble sometimes runs under the refrigerator.  By the time I have finished my meal, I've often forgotten that.   Weeks later, I happen to smell it, but it’s way in under where I can't reach.  I can sometimes fuss Boss into getting her long stick and flashlight and fetching it out for me, but sometimes she is grumpy about it, so I have to wait a long time.

The best smelling things are food and animals.  We all know about food smells.  Mmm-mmm!  Boss doesn't feed me in the kitchen – not on purpose anyway, but once in a while something gets away from her.  Then it's a contest.  I try to get it before she can say, “LEAVE IT.”  But if she wins, it's okay because I back away and then she gives me good things to eat and tells me how wonderful I am.

We don't often go for a walk in town, and when we do, it's on the aggravating leash.  There are so may strange human smells that I just ignore them and concentrate on other dogs and the occasional rodent.  Every post and bush and hydrant has half an hour's worth of news, but Boss only lets me sniff a few seconds.  I guess I should be grateful when she does.  Sometimes she just keeps me walking.

When we go for a walk in the woods, there are so many smells that I just run and run trying not to miss anything.  A few times in my life I smelled something wild and wonderful that I couldn’t figure out.  It just drove me crazy!  Has anyone else had this happen?  The smell is up in the air, so I can't make any sense about where it is coming from.  And it is so intense, and so exciting that I run back and forth and 'round and 'round as fast as I can over blowdowns and through brush.  Boss keeps jumping in front of me, and maybe she is calling, but I can't hear because of that SMELL!  When I get tired and slow down a little, Boss snags me as I race by.  I hope that someday I will find out what fills the woods with that irresistible smell.  Whatever can it be?  Please write to me if you have any guesses.

Smell with passion,