An amazing feat earns admiration and lawsuit

MIKE ROYKO

November 08, 1993|By MIKE ROYKO

In the past, I've written unkind words about tiny dogs. I thoughtlessly said that all they're good for is being tied to long sticks to wash windows or being sprayed with Endust and shoved under beds to collect lint.

But now I must apologize, and never again will I say such things.

Not after hearing of the bold and amazing feat of a little Chihuahua named Rocky.

Rocky lives with his owners in Key Largo, Fla., which is where he recently gained fame and admiration.

It happened when he took a stroll around the neighborhood. While passing a nearby house, he saw another dog.

That dog was a Rottweiler. If you aren't familiar with the breed, believe me, you wouldn't want one mad at you. Big and burly, they are related to the Doberman. In ancient times, the Roman armies used Rottweilers as guard dogs.

So there stood Rocky the Chihuahua, weighing in at about 8 pounds and about as high as your ankle.

And there was the Rottweiler, whose head probably weighed more than Rocky's whole body. With one snap, it could have downed Rocky like a yummy bone.

But that isn't what happened.

Rocky, as his name indicates, is a male dog. And the Rottweiler, who goes by the name Canella, is of the female persuasion. (In kennel circles, she would be formally described as a "bitch." Kennel people are a bit behind the times in sensitivity.)

For little Rocky, it appeared to have been love or lust at first sight. And he --ed toward Canella to express his emotions.

One might have expected Canella to spurn him, thinking something like: "Don't be silly, you ugly little creep."

But you never know about females. Mickey Rooney, the tiny actor, had eight gorgeous wives. And the late Aristotle Onassis looked like a toad, but was quite the international ladies' man.

So Canella thought something like: "Well, he may be an ugly little creep, but he's my very own ugly little creep."

She responded favorably to his advances, and in a moment they were engaged in an act of passion.

It isn't known how tiny Rocky accomplished this. Maybe he took a flying, acrobatic leap. Or he might have jumped up on a fence to gain a proper flight path toward his landing area.

But there is no doubt that it happened, because they were seen by witnesses. That can happen when engaging in such acts in public.

One of the witnesses was a local animal control officer who happened to be going by. He stopped to watch, out of professional curiosity and amazement.

The other was Canella's owner, who came out of the house and was shocked and dismayed. Which is understandable. He had high hopes for Canella, such as his introducing her to a handsome, refined, male Rottweiler, from a distinguished family.

Canella's owner grabbed his camera and took pictures. He wanted evidence of what he thought was a terrible assault. Or maybe he thought he could sell the photos to the National Enquirer.

Then he and the animal control officer did what they could to break up the romance, squirting the two lovers with a garden hose and shouting for them to cease and desist.

It was too late. Rocky was small, but he was fast. And the deed was done. Rocky, we hear, looked weary but proud, the little scamp.

But it doesn't end there. Before long, Canella's owner discovered that she was in a family way.

And he was dismayed at the prospect of a litter of pups that were half big Rottweiler and half bitty Chihuahua.

So he took Canella to a veterinarian and put an end to the pregnancy, while taking measures to prevent Canella from ever again engaging in such activities.

A pity, really. They might have been remarkable pups. Maybe giant Chihuahuas, which would scare any burglar to death. Or teeny Rottweilers, which many ladies would like to keep in their purses as protection.

Then Canella's owner sued. Doesn't everyone?

He said that Rocky's owner was irresponsible for letting the horny little fellow wander about looking for impressionable females.

And he asked to be compensated for all the fine puppies he planned to sell for $400 each, had Canella taken up with a respectable Rottweiler.

Rocky's owner responded that someone else might have been the father. Canella, he said, wasn't all that fussy. He even hinted that the father might have been a tiny Shih Tzu from down the block that had been seen lurking about.

But the judge didn't buy it. As he said in his ruling:

"Graphic and explicit expert testimony was received describing the virtual certainty that Rocky's efforts would result in Canella's pregnancy. . . .

"Defendant [speculated] that Canella had been visited by other male dogs, in particular a determined but inadequate little Shih Tzu with an injured hip, but only speculation existed, as opposed to the certain success enjoyed by Rocky."

So he awarded Canella's owner $2,500, plus $67.50 in court costs.

That seems like a lot of money for one impetuous romp with a consenting partner.

On the other hand, it could have been worse. What if Rocky was a U.S. senator?

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