Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy, an Advice Column for Dogs by a Dog

By Nancy Holmes | May 31, 2019

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’m a faithful old dog, so I think I have earned some consideration for my comfort. In the winter, my Mom takes good care of me. We never stay outside too long. She even shovels paths through the deep snow to my potty places. Now everything is turning green. It rains almost every day. She must think it’s warm, but it isn’t. Lying on the cold, wet ground, or even on the wet doorstep is colder than laying in snow. Maybe if I roll in the grass until I turn green, she’ll fuss over me instead of all those green things she plays with! The worst thing is Mom has an outdoor machine like a vacuum cleaner on steroids, like she would say. It leads her around on the lawn, while it makes a terrible noise. It makes the grass short, and it smells of gasoline and exhaust. It is so loud I jump up and run every time it heads my way. I can’t imagine why she lets it lead her around like that.

My job has always been to take care of Mom, but I think this is going too far for a faithful old dog. How can I stay inside where it’s safe and warm and dry?




Dear Faithful Jock,

What a sad story! But I think I can help you get more consideration. Don’t you ever bark? Believe me, the dog’s bark is a most powerful tool. Combined with looking innocent and miserable, it gives you a great deal of control. What can she do? I have heard of a kind of “bitey” collar that attacks a dog when it barks, but I don’t know of any human cruel enough to use that.

I’ve got nothing against plants. Boss likes to play with them, and some of them are very good to eat. I’m nipping tender, fat asparagus tips, now. Yum! Even so, you shouldn’t have to guard Mom under those miserable conditions. Is there a window you can look out of? I think it’s cruel to dogs to have a house with no window to look out of. I’m very lucky. My house has some low windows, and boss put a box by the high entry window, so I can jump up to oversee the gardens and steps. I still prefer to be outdoors with Boss. But when I need to be inside, I have a voice, and I use it.

Bark, my friend! If it’s too hot or cold or rainy, BARK! I can tell if there’s a thunderstorm coming, and I absolutely insist that we come indoors. Try not to get yelled at or spanked, but if bad things happen, DON’T reward her by giving up! Just act broken-hearted, let her get back to work, and then bark again. I can almost guarantee that she will eventually let you into that nice comfy house.

Let’s hear it for dog power: BARK BARK BARK!