Paul Gilligan writes the following on the occasion of his 5000th Pooch Café comic strip:
"Holy snap. I can feel the bones in my drawing hand creaking. I had to do the calculation three times. I had to use an abacus, because apparently those were all the rage around the time I started drawing this strip, which debuted on Jan 3, 2000, (“The first strip of the new millennium”, I coined it). It coincided relatively closely with Charles Schulz’s announcement that he was retiring Peanuts, and I was quickly misquoted in a newspaper interview as calling Poncho “the new Snoopy.” My first reporter twisting of words! I had entered the public eye.
The first strip:
Thanks to Copley Syndicate for starting me off, and to John Glynn, Lee Salem and John McMeel for taking Pooch on at Universal and helping me into the big leagues. And of course thanks to all my fans over the years, without whom I’d have been committed because sitting by yourself doing 5000 comics about a dog for no one will get you tossed in a padded room.
Editor's note: Paul lived in Ottawa at the time and worked as an illustrator at The Ottawa Citizen.