Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy, an Advice Column for Dogs by a Dog

By Nancy Holmes | Sep 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 adopted 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:


Dear Bammy,

I am a Miniature Black Lab. At least that’s what my people call me, so it must be so. I am a playful, happy dog except for just one thing. Bugs! They drive me crazy. Sometimes a dog-friend comes to play with me. We chase and wrestle and play tug until my friend sees a bug. Then he goes into killer mode, and I run for my life. If there’s a human around, I hide behind them, shivering with fear while they laugh at me! When I was really little, I liked to chase butterflies. One day I snapped a little yellow and black one off a flower. Yikes! Did that ever hurt! How could such a little thing bite so hard? So that’s it. Show me a bug, and I’m outa here. I want to be outside with my people, but there are swarms out there. Bammy, what am I going to do?


Little Black Scaredy-Dog


Dear Little Black,

I got stung just a week ago. Humans call it “sting,” or “stung,” not bite. It did hurt, but only for a minute or so. I pawed my mouth and had a drink of water. Then I tried to catch more to get even.

My advice to you may sound scary, but believe me, there’s a whole lot of fun in chasing bugs. I almost never get stung, not more than once or twice a year. That’s an easy price to pay for the joy of leaping and snapping at them. I quite often catch one, very fast with just my front teeth. At the same time, I shake my head to throw the bug out before it can sting. It’s way safer than it sounds.

I don’t think butterflies ever sting, though some of them taste bad. And the ones Boss calls “flies” that walk on the inside of the windows don’t either. Boss thanks me for catching them, and they even taste good. Humans talk about “red” and “green,” whatever those are. But when they say “yellow,” I see what they mean. Is that why the stinging bugs are often black and yellow? My favorites to leap for are the big, fuzzy, buzzy, black and yellow ones that Boss calls bumblebees.

Little Black, why don’t you start by pawing at bugs that crawl around on the ground. They aren’t scary at all. Some of them taste bad, but you just spit them out and kill them with your paws. You can work your way up to snapping at the exciting flying ones. Think of them as toys, like tiny Frisbees flying around for your entertainment.

Happy snapping!


P.S. Boss says she has to write that if your face swells up, your people need to take you to the vet right away. Don’t worry about it. It’s just silly human stuff.