Wednesday, September 06, 2017

A Smart Ocracoke Dog

In a 1985 article by Pat Brown for Life on the Pamlico (, a publication of Beaufort County Community College, Pat Brown interviews John A. Wilkinson, “attorney and man for all seasons” (

The interview begins with Brown presenting Wilkinson with a complimentary copy of the Spring, 1984, issue of Life on the Pamlico. The cover photo (from the 1930s) shows Stanley Wahab of Ocracoke, another man, and a dog standing on an Ocracoke Island pier.

Wilkinson immediately comments: The dog I knew.

Pat Brown: Is that right?

Wilkinson: Yes. He was David’s [Wahab {actually, Brown’s annotation here is incorrect; Wilkinson was talking about the dog that belonged to David Gaskill, owner of the Pamlico Inn, not Stanley Wahab}] favorite. He had a bad habit of swimming, jumping out in the sound when a boat was coming in. Swimming around and picking up trash. David said that he would beat him three or four times a night but he persisted in doing it and finally one day he came in with a quart bottle of liquor in his mouth that somebody had lost over a yacht out there. Liquor was more precious than gold in Ocracoke in the early 1930s. So he said he apologized to the dog for having beat him and told him that he could jump overboard as many damn times as he wanted to. I said, “Did the dog take you at your word?” And he [Wahab {again, Gaskill}] said, “You saw him this morning swimming around out in the sound.”

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a brief history of Howard's Pub. You can read it here:   


  1. Anonymous8:53 AM

    How come no one mentions the Dog's name? You would think the photographer would have asked those he photographed for their names. Of course he could not ask the dog because dogs can't talk. Then the editor of the publication could have had a caption written informing the readers as to the identity of those pictured. In any event it is confusing to read this post. Who corrected the names of the dog owner? the OIJ poster or the Pat Brown person. Is Pat Brown a student writing a story for class credit?. Or this lawyer for all seasons, has a disconcerting fault of not getting his "facts" straight. With all due respect, this third person publication of supposed animal cruelty before my first cup of morning coffee is most disturbing. If this story is an attempt at humor by the lawyer it just reflects the changed attitude people have toward their pets. Back in the 30's animal cruelty went hand in hand in owning animals I guess. Today, animal hoarding goes hand in hand with animal cruelty. This dog was performing a community service cleaning up the harbor with his collecting of the trash. Is this Life on Pamlico still in publication and if so, is it truly source material for fact. Or a stab at a Foxfire like document?. For those that don't know, the Foxfire Books from Rabun County Georgia were groundbreaking for its time and genre'.

    1. Yes, there are disturbing aspects to this story, which I decided not to edit out. But there is an element of humor, nevertheless.

  2. Anonymous2:11 PM

    Good grief. Thanks Philip! You are indeed a patient man. The comments here are unreal to me at times.

  3. Anonymous2:58 PM

    Anon 2:11 doesn't get it. The Quirky inhabitants of OI and the oral history handed down from generation to generation deserve respect. The dog and what contributions the animal made in the fabric of OI deserve recognition, And the long forgotten name of the dog that swam in the harbor collecting trash is a sad note I say. The Salty Dog bar would be a fitting tribute and a place name with a story. For Real!