Pooch Café

Pooch Café

Poncho and Boomer
Author(s) Paul Gilligan
Website www.gocomics.com/poochcafe
Launch date January 2000
End date Still in production
Syndicate(s) Copley News Service (2000-2003)
Universal Uclick (2003-present)
Publisher(s) Andrews McMeel (Book)
Genre(s) Humour

Pooch Café is a Canadian and American comic strip written and illustrated by Paul Gilligan. It was also made into a series of online shorts with RingTales.

Gilligan is also the writer for the comic Poptropica, which debuted on June 9, 2014 [1][2] and is based on the video game of the same name.


Pooch Café follows the humorous antics of a self-serving, paranoid, dog named Poncho.

The strip follows Poncho's life with his master, Chazz, and Chazz's cat-loving wife, Carmen (who owns a brood of five cats), and Poncho's adventures with his fellow dogs; Boomer, Hudson, Droolia (a female Bullmastiff with a drooling problem), Gus (a Scottish Terrier), Beaumont (or "Bobo", the owner of the titular cafe), Poo Poo (a Bichon Frise), and a zen goldfish named "Fish". Other semi-recurring characters are Tito (the garbage man), Sheldon (a pigeon with a pork pie hat), and Margo (the dog-walker). The strip takes its name from the cafe where Poncho and his friends gather to compare notes (and complain) about life among the humans.

The universe of the comic strip is one in which dogs are recognizably canine in some of their behavior but with many anthropomorphic traits. For example, Chazz, Carmen and other human characters are able to talk not just to Poncho but to Poncho's dog friends as well, all seeming to speak the same language. The dogs however are rarely able to communicate with cats - who speak only cat—and therefore the cats are rarely seen speaking. Fish for some reason is able to speak all languages.

Many people attach commendable characteristics to dogs, such as loyalty and unconditional love. However, Poncho embodies other less-dwelt-upon traits; he's greedy and self-serving, a fact of which he is blissfully aware. Poncho hates cats with a passion, and dreams of the day he and his canine companions can catapult all the cats of the world into the sun. This plan is often referred to during the dogs' "Catapult-All-Cats-Into-The-Sun" meetings, which are led by Boomer. Chazz and Carmen are often driven to their wits' end by his constant schemes, but still love him unconditionally, tough though it may be. Poncho also holds a grudge against Carmen for coming between the sacred master/dog relationship he shares with Chazz, and for forcing them to live with cats. He often designs schemes to pit the couple against each other, delighting in any turmoil that subsequently ensues. Poncho is also neutered, a subject that is frequently examined and mocked by Gus and Boomer whenever Mitzi, a female poodle who used to live on the same street as Poncho, drops by the cafe. According to Poncho, they are "just friends".

Poncho and his friends often get into bizarre situations, such as the time he and Poo Poo ended up inside a Narnia-esque world accessed through Droolia's armpit; the time Poncho got locked up by Canine Security for being cat-contaminated; and the time Poncho and Hudson got lost in the snow, were rescued by a cat, rescued a mailman, and Poncho became Dog Hobo King.

The strip is set in contemporary North America. Poncho appears in most of the strips, while a small number focus on other supporting characters. The broad themes of the strip deal with Poncho’s misadventures, his unique views on cats and his relationships and interactions with other characters in his society.

Pooch Café is syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate after a short time with Copley's syndicate, and currently appears in approximately 275 papers worldwide. There are two book collections, (temporarily out of print but being reprinted in spring 2009) and a third book entitled Bark to Work Legislation.

The creator runs a blog, where fans can connect with Paul Gilligan and interact with other fans on its message board. There has even been some speculation that a few recent strips may have been influenced during this open fan/author dialogue.


Main Characters:

Minor Characters:

Recurring subject matter

Some recurring themes in the strip include: Poncho's dislike of cats; the giant cat-catapult the dogs are trying to build to hurl all the Earth's cats into the Sun; his fear of the squirrels in the backyard; his weakness for the use of Havarti cheese as a bargaining tool; his longing to taste Zebra; his infatuation with Jackie Chan; Carmen's not-so-secret crush on Justin Timberlake; Chazz's embarrassment of having to hold an umbrella over Poncho while he does his business in rainy weather; his timid skunk friend "Stinky" who goes off with very little provocation; his attempts to please and improve the life of his friend Fish by taking him for walks or setting him up on on-line dates; his attempts to incur a positive karmic balance by helping the personality-impaired pigeon Sheldon; his emotional connection to his Plank Of Wood, a remnant from the porch he was born under many years ago, various body parts that resemble urges: such as the stomach for hunger or the brain for cleverness; Poncho's hatred of the mailman.

Award nominations

Pooch Café was nominated for "Best Comic Strip" by the National Cartoonists Society in 2008; the award is referred to as the Reuben Award.[6]


As of 2008, three book collections were published.

Title Publication Date ISBN Publisher
All Dogs Naturally Know How to Swim 2003 ISBN 0-7407-3302-8 Andrews McMeel
No Collar, No Service 2005 ISBN 0-7407-5003-8 Andrews McMeel
Bark to Work Legislation 2007 none Universal Press Syndicate (only available from Lulu)

Paul Gilligan self-published a fourth book in September 2011 called Poncho: Year One - a puppy's life. It is a collection of strips in the form of a graphic novel which spans 18 months of the strip telling the story of the first year of Poncho's life.

Web Shorts

In 2011, in a collaboration with RingTales, a series of shorts were created and released online.[7][8][9]


In January 2008, Paul Gilligan, the comic strip's author, revealed on his website that Sony Pictures Animation has signed to make a computer-animated feature film based on the strip.[10] Gilligan then wrote several story treatments and screenplay drafts.[11][12][13][14] In October 2011, it was announced that Kelly Asbury had been hired to write the next script draft.[15][16] In April 2013, on a Twitter Q/A session, Gilligan responded to a question whether there will be a Pooch Cafe film: "Alas, Poncho's movie plans got scuttled by a certain director who I won't bother naming..."[17][18]


  1. "Poptropica! - Pooch Café". poochcafe.com. Archived from the original on 2014-09-08.
  2. Paul Gilligan and Kory Merritt. "Poptropica Comic Strip on GoComics.com". GoComics.
  3. Gilligan, Paul. "Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan, December 07, 2012 Via @GoComics". gocomics.com.
  4. Gilligan, Paul. "Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan, September 02, 2011 Via @GoComics". gocomics.com.
  5. Gilligan, Paul. "Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan, August 31, 2016 Via @GoComics". gocomics.com.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  7. https://www.youtube.com/show/poochcafe
  8. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pooch-cafe-animated-cartoons/id368984261?mt=2
  9. http://dailycartoonist.com/index.php/2008/01/28/pooch-cafe-strips-to-be-animated-by-ringtales/
  10. Gilligan, Paul (January 10, 2008). "Pooch Cafe Movie". Pooch Cafe. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  11. Gilligan, Paul (April 5, 2008). "Treatment Contract". Pooch Cafe. Archived from the original on January 16, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  12. Gilligan, Paul (May 20, 2009). "Little Movie Update". Pooch Cafe. Archived from the original on March 21, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  13. Gilligan, Paul (February 2, 2010). "Script". Pooch Cafe. Archived from the original on March 21, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  14. Gilligan, Paul (May 10, 2010). "Pooch Cafe Movie News". Pooch Cafe. Archived from the original on March 21, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  15. Kit, Borys (October 7, 2011). "'Gnomeo and Juliet' Filmmaker Penning Pooch Cafe for Sony Pictures Animation". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  16. Gilligan, Paul (October 9, 2011). "Pooch Cafe Movie News". Pooch Cafe. Archived from the original on January 20, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  17. GoComics (April 19, 2013). "We are LIVE w/ Paul Gilligan, creator of Pooch Café #comics! Ask him anything using hashtag #PoochLIVE. GO!". Twitter. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  18. GoComics (April 19, 2013). "Alas, Poncho's movie plans got scuttled by a certain director who I won't bother naming...". Twitter. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
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