Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy

By Nancy Holmes | Jul 01, 2021

I am a Carolina Dog, a breed that owned Native American people a long time ago. 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.

About A New Trick

Humans say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I learn new tricks. All my life I’ve hurried to her when she calls “Bammy, Come!” No more. I duck over the bank into The Thicket where all the good animal smells are, and Boss can’t see me. When she calls, “Where’s Bammy?” I work my way back to her. We are a pack, after all.

My latest new trick is actually sort of like remembering an old, old trick. It feels as if part of my brain just woke up. All my life I’ve had trouble with things too good to leave, but too big or fresh to eat. A long time ago, Boss offered me a piece of rawhide too big to eat and too wonderful to lose. I grabbed it and walked around for a long time, whining. I pushed it into a corner and then went back and got it. Pushed it under the bed, whine, whine, whine. And into the pile of magazines. I finally just sat down and howled in frustration. Then Boss played the “trade” game, offering me a treat when I gave her the rawhide. She cut off a little piece, just right to eat while I watched anxiously. When she gave it to me, I lay right down and chewed it.

I sometimes catch a little bird that can’t get over the fence fast enough. I am REALLY quick! One day when I was walking around with one, whining, Boss took it and dug a hole while I watched anxiously. She put the bird in the hole and pushed the dirt back over it. I watched very closely and then dug it up. Maybe if she or my dog mother had done that when I was a puppy, I would have learned then.

Last week Boss gave me a new bone saying, “Happy Birthday! You are fourteen years old!” I didn’t know what that was all about, and that bone was so fresh it almost gagged me. I tried to find a safe corner to hide it, but it was so wonderful I couldn’t bear to put it down. I squeezed in behind the computer desk and couldn’t back out because my hind legs aren’t that strong anymore. I just sat down with the bone lengthwise in my mouth and whined through the hole in the middle. When I began to howl through the bone, Boss came to help me. She almost laughed. Grrr! But she helped me back up, and we went outdoors.

Boss sat on the steps looking really sad while I carried it around, whining. After a long time, I took the bone behind the rose bush, and I didn’t know why, but I started digging. Boss said, “Good dog! Good boy! Dig!” so I dug harder and then dropped the bone in the hole. She was all happy about that, too, but I picked the bone up again and whined. Then I dropped it in the hole again, and she said I was so good! I looked at it while an idea about my nose was coming into my head. I pushed some of the dirt back over the bone with my nose. With my NOSE! Then I picked the bone up again. And dropped it and pushed soil with my nose over and over. Finally, I filled the hole up and I tamped down the dirt with my nose. I came to Boss and got lots of pats.

I kept a pretty good eye on the spot behind the rose bush for a couple of day,s and then I dug up the bone. I wanted to bring it in the house, but Boss took it. She rinsed the dirt off it and gave it back. It was just right! Yummy! And Boss let me chew it indoors.

I didn’t really learn a new trick. An old trick just made my paws and nose do a wonderful new thing.

Keep learning!