Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy

By Nancy Holmes | May 01, 2021

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 live at the edge of the woods. I usually go for a run with Dad, but sometimes I manage to slip away and go by myself. I miss being with Dad, but I’m more free to sniff around for things when I go alone. Like bones I find in the woods. They smell like meat, or like old dry bone. They also smell like the last animal that carried them. Skunk – gross! Or coyote – yikes! The problem with these bones is that, of course, I want to take them home. If I’m with Dad, he makes a big fuss. He says, “Yuk! That’s dirty! No! Drop it. Dirty!” and he tries to catch me, to take the bone away. Well, I don’t want to give them to him. I found them, and they are MINE! It works out better when I’m out alone. If they are fresh, I give them a chaw right there. If I take them home, Mom gets into it, too, and they won’t let me in until I drop the bone. Then they steal it!

Bammy, why are people so nutty about bones? What are they thinking?



Dear Finder,

I can’t imagine why your humans hate bones. Some humans don’t even like meat without the bones! I’m really lucky. Boss doesn’t get meat very often, so when she does, I’m so excited I do my very best to get hold of some. She even brings home bones for me sometimes, and buries them in the big, white, very cold box. Once in a while she digs up one of those bones and gives it to me. That’s when it starts getting weird. She makes me keep it outdoors until I’ve gotten most of the meat off it; then I can bring it in. Dirty old bones I find in the woods are alright to bring in right away. What’s with that, anyway?

The only thing I can offer is that humans own everything. If dogs stick around, they get whatever the humans want to give them. My ancestors didn’t stick around with their Indian humans. They went into the swamps where they could keep whatever they found or caught. Other Carolina Dogs stayed with the Indians. They earned their food in exchange for hunting, guard duty, and affection. I love my human and want to be with her. At least she gives me something in return when she steals my food.

Growing up with humans, I don’t even know what to do with something I catch. Maybe my mother would have taught me, but Boss took me to her den when I was just a little pup. When I catch something, I carry it around whining pitifully. I let Boss have whatever chipmunk or woodchuck or bird I catch, and she buries them in the garden. One time she had me watch her bury a bird. Maybe she was trying to teach me how to bury, but I dug it right up again and carried it around whining.

Sorry I can’t offer anything but sympathy!