Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy, an Advice Column for Dogs by a Dog

About Food
By Nancy Holmes | Jan 01, 2020

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


About Food

I’ve written several times about food and our dear humans, but since this is a season when food is all over the place, I want to tell you about the Food Law. Wild canines know it well because it keeps young and low-ranking dogs from starving. Food Law rules that any food a dog can get hold of is his. If it’s not guarded, grab it!

Boss doesn’t understand the Law. She pulls rank on me as if ALL food is hers because human pack leaders control the whole den. She keeps food out of my reach most of the time and just shares when she wants to (or when she absentmindedly leaves nice things where I can snitch them). With my teeth and quickness and strength, I could run her right out of our den. But I don’t even think of it because everything I need comes from her. I can’t even open the door to go in or out! Our den is warm and dry; there’s enough water and food (though I could use more). She protects me from things like the monster she calls “thunder” and strange people who come into our den. Of course, I bark and look fierce, but if she weren’t there, I’d better run away. So don’t fight your humans for food!

Listen up, pups! Food Law says that if there’s food with no one guarding it, it’s yours. Don’t just stand there drooling! Do you think a wild dog begs for a nice rabbit leg if she can sneak it away from the growling boss dog? She would starve! The only way she is going to survive is to dodge the teeth, grab the prize, and run!

So in this season of WONDERFUL FOOD, make the most of the Food Law. Use your brain! Be alert to any unguarded goodies. Don’t hesitate! It only takes an instant to grab a stuffed egg and run under the table. And don’t forget to beg. Humans are in a generous mood now. There may be lots of humans besides your pack standing around with food. Human guests are often really generous to a cute, begging dog.

Human puppies are a specially good source of food. They are often fascinated by us, so wag and smile, even sit, keeping sweet eye contact. Their little hands holding the food are right on your level. Reach out slowly, gently, and accept the food they are holding. Be very careful not to let your teeth touch their hands. They love seeing your tongue reach out for the treat. They may even squeal and giggle when they feed you and hold out their sticky little paws for you to lick. A few human pups may be upset when you take their food, but you’d be surprised how many will keep bringing treats as long as their parents don’t notice.


Enjoy this season of plenty and good luck begging!



Caption: Kittie was an old pack-mate of mine, a Carolina Dog mix. N. Holmes photo