Apparently, when St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland, he also got rid of the cats.  I could count on my fingers the number of cats I’ve seen in the three months we’ve been here.  Dogs, though, are very popular.  Look in the classifieds of the paper, and you’ll see column after column of ads for dogs (quick aside, did you know that the name Colm was pronounced Column?  I always thought it was one syllable).  Look under cats, and there are three ads advertising cats free to good homes, and one ad looking for a Stud Chinchilla cat, whatever that is.

Dogs, though, are everywhere.  I don’t mean that there are people walking them everywhere or that they are behind every fence.  No, it’s just that most people seem to let their dogs run free here.  There was a news story recently about a dog that had been reunited with his owners after a fourteen month absence.  The owners said the dog disappeared when they “let him out for his morning run.” 

When we go walking, whether out in Rochestown, Douglas Village, or Cork City Centre, it’s quite common to see dogs trotting along all alone.  Most of these dogs don’t seem to be strays.  They are well-groomed, and look as if they are simply out to get a pint at their local before buying the Evening Echo and returning home, or maybe they’re off to play poker with that cheating bulldog.  I don’t know, but in any case they usually look like they know exactly where they’re going.  The one thing they don’t know how to do is pick up after themselves, which is why there is an inordinate amount of dog poop everywhere.  This is why I’m a cat person:  cats don’t poop on the sidewalk.