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 meat...so 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: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032111.htm.