Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy, an Advice Column for Dogs by a Dog

About Teeth
By Nancy Holmes | Sep 01, 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. Check out my family at the

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! N. Holmes, 280 Pond Rd., Newcastle, ME 04553, or email: askbammy@tidewater.


About Teeth

Dear Friends,

I just wasn’t quite my usual athletic self. My mouth hurt, and when I licked Boss’s nose, she said, “Yuk! Buzzard breath!” The grass in my field was so tall I couldn’t run easily. It’s fun to do observation leaps to see out over the top of the grass, but I wanted to run for ten minutes, just big circles, loping fast and easy. I wish I could get clear of the ground like the swallows, but I almost feel as if I’m flying. I still raced Boss in the car on the farm road, but it was more of an effort. Is that what “old” feels like?

Then Boss took me to that house that smells like fear and dogs and cats and I don’t know what-all. We used to go to a different place like that, but very bad things happened there, so we come to this place now. There is a man who I would like somewhere else. He is calm and strong, but gentle, like Boss’s grown-up puppy. He gave me a tiny prick in the hip and asked me to follow him out of the room. I looked at Boss and she smiled and said, “It’s okay. Go!” so I did.

Pretty soon I got very sleepy and lay down for a nap. When I woke up, I was still sleepy and my legs didn’t work right. When I could stand without tipping over, the nice man came and took me for a walk. He took me to places where dogs had left messages, but I didn’t leave any. I was just looking for Boss.

Finally, Boss came for me. By the time we got home, my mouth hurt a lot. Boss gave me a big blob of peanut butter with something hard in it. I didn’t care about the hard part. Probably just a peanut. Pretty soon I felt alright again, but my mouth tasted bloody, and there was a hole I could put my tongue in. Maybe Boss felt guilty – she gave me moose stew for supper! Wowsah, was that good! I wanted it all, but she ate the rest herself. Grrr. (Of course I would never really growl at her. I just eat things when her back is turned.)

Now my mouth feels fine and Boss doesn’t complain when I kiss her. I still have those big carnassial molars that can cut a leash in five chomps. My energy is back and … yip! yip! … the tall grass in the field is gone, so I can run like a bird again!

There’s just one little problem. Once in a while, Boss used to stick a toothbrush in my mouth, and I cleverly bit it so she couldn’t move it around. Now she sticks it in my mouth every single day and holds my muzzle so I can’t bite it. She got a new toothbrush that tastes really good, and she gives me a treat afterwards. I still hate it. Don’t humans have the strangest ideas? My wild great-grandfather never had a toothbrush in his mouth! But then, he probably didn’t live to be 12.

Put up with it, Pups!



Thanks to Boothbay Animal Hospital for pictures of my teeth.

Before: swollen, red gums, and a crust of plaque.

After: Clean, white teeth! The pulled ones used to be back in the shadow.