Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy, an Advice Column for Dogs by a Dog

By Nancy Holmes | Dec 28, 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 human help. My great-grandfather was caught from the wild. I can offer advice based on the natural instincts and attributes of wild dogs. In addition, my adoptive person and I have had lots of training classes and other experiences. Some humans call themselves Mom or Dad of their dog, but I refer to my human, tongue in cheek, as 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 some fun talking about our amazing humans. Please send your questions! Bammy, 280 Pond Rd., Newcastle, ME 04553, or email:


Dear Bammy,

I am a Basset Hound of ancient and honorable lineage. My ancestors have been hunting small game in France for centuries. (I keep hearing my Dad telling people that.) He says we have short legs, so humans can hunt with us without trying to cling to the backs of those huge, crazed horses. And our long ears drag on the ground to stir up the scent of little rabbit paws and things. I don’t know why we have droopy eyelids. I keep getting dirt in mine, and it hurts. We have beautiful baying voices to tell our humans what’s going on.

That leads to the problem, my young friend of ancient New World lineage. My Dad can tell by my sonorous bay when I am smelling something exciting. But that’s about the only thing my pack understands! We have a little puppy human who crawls around on the floor with me. I love Freddie. We lick each other’s noses, and it makes him giggle when I pull off his socks and keep them just out of his reach. But he has no manners at all. He pulls my beautiful ears and sticks his fingers in my eyes. I stiffen my body and stare at him with hard eyes when he starts climbing on me, but he doesn’t understand the way a real puppy would. I have to jump up and go away. Sometimes that makes him tip over, and he cries. Then the big people scold ME! Can’t they see that Freddie was climbing on me, and I asked him not to with my whole body? I really can’t stand him crawling on top of me, and it’s not fair that my humans blame me when he falls over.

What can I do, Bammy?

Bonaparte Basset


Dear Bonaparte,

Does your name have something to do with bones? If it does, I hope they keep Freddie from bothering you when you’re enjoying one.

I certainly sympathize with your problem with that rude human puppy. If he was raised like a proper puppy, his mother would growl and nip him. But you aren’t his mother, and he isn’t a smart, sensible puppy, so YOU can’t punish him. You’d be in big trouble even for a gentle little nip. I think you are doing the right thing by getting up and moving away. If you always jump up and dump Freddie off, he might stop crawling on you. Humans can be pretty stubborn, but they can be trained with patience

I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but the way you look might make it hard for humans to understand what you are “telling” them. You can’t really prick up those long ears when you are eager or alert. Maybe people don’t notice when you do a hard, aggressive stare, because – well, because your eye holes are sagged down below your eyes. Your eyes just look sad whether you are happy or mad.

The best thing for you to try is to let out a good big yip when Freddie is rude. Make it sound as if he’s almost killing you. It might stop Freddie, and his parents might finally realize that they should be protecting you instead of scolding you!

Put those marvelous vocal chords to good use!