Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cats & Dogs

If you've been to Ocracoke you probably know that there are many cats on the island. We also have quite a few dogs, but half a century ago dogs were rare on Ocracoke.

I remember my Aunt Tressie expressing her fear and concern when we brought our dog, Ginger, to the island. Aunt Tressie, like most islanders had free-range chickens, and she was worried that Ginger would chase and kill them. Keep in mind that most people's food came from the sound, their gardens, and their chickens. They could not afford to lose their primary source of few people had dogs.

In 1955 Ruth & Latrobe Carroll, from Asheville, NC, wrote and illustrated a wonderful book about Ocracoke. Digby the Only Dog begins, "Once there was an island. And on that island there were ponies and cattle and ducks and chickens and geese and people and many many many cats. But there was only one dog. His name was Digby."

The illustrations show Howard Street, the docks, mailboat, Methodist church, schoolhouse, lighthouse, and various homes. Unfortunately, Digby is out of print. But here are photos of the front and back covers. Maybe you will find a copy one day at a yard sale. If so, buy it and treasure it. You won't be disappointed.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a list of traditional island remedies. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous7:59 AM

    Amazon lists 3 copies, starting at $48.

  2. A "lost" comment:

    "Do you still get seafood from the sound or do you have to go deep sea?"

    Answer: Ocracoke fishermen get fish, crabs, clams, shrimp, and oysters from Pamlico Sound. It is some of the best seafood you will ever eat!

  3. Anonymous11:40 AM

    Digby is the second award winning book by this talented writing team. A series written by this team, the illustrations are beautiful, feature the people of the Appalachian mountains and one upon reading an essay available on line telling the gentle reader of thses books cannot help by draw an opinion that the tatums were an inspiration for the Clampetts; the Beverly Hillbillies. I say this with all due respect. A seasoned tv watcher knows a successful sitcom is one that has a ridiculous premise. But I love them all they were a great study for someone to develop a sense of humor.( Green Acres) How lucky is Arnold the pig when he finds that diamond encrusted necklace in a box of cereal.

  4. Anonymous2:02 PM

    I'LL BET IT IS. Many thanks for RSVP

  5. Anonymous4:54 PM

    It's a shame the book is out of print.

  6. Kathi7:11 PM

    You can find copies of Digby The Only Dog at

  7. debbie s.6:30 PM

    ouch at the amazon prices! will have to keep an eye out at yard sales and thrift stores! those prices are more my speed LOL

    i love the cats on ocracoke (i have 11 of my own), and loved seeing it last year when the vet school was doing the round up for the spay/neuters!