There were three dogs named Rocky in my old neighborhood. I assumed the reference was to Rocky, the fictional boxer played by Sylvester Stallone, and not Rocky the Squirrel, from Rocky and Bullwinkle, but I could be mistaken.
The first Rocky was a German Shepherd. He came to live at the house on the corner when he was eight weeks old, and just about Cricket’s size. Within two weeks he was twice her size, and eventually he was five times her size. He would cry and whine for Cricket to play with him, but she refused to get too close. He was a galumphing puppy and often escaped from his yard, offering play bows to each tree and human and cat he came across.
When he reached full size, he was kept on a long chain in the driveway on nice days, and one day the next door neighbor’s youngest boy came to pick up a lost ball and decided to visit with Rocky, without supervision. Rocky bit him on the hand. I know Rocky didn’t mean to cause harm, but the boy’s parents took the matter to court and wanted Rocky put down. They lost the case, but the tension in the neighborhood remained. Whenever I saw Rocky out loose after that, I would run to corral him back home before anyone else could see him out frolicking in the great outdoors. He thought we were having a grand old time.
The second Rocky was an English Bulldog, with three legs. He was thinner and faster than the English bulldogs I was used to. He’d had a tumor in his leg as a young dog and had to have the leg amputated, but it happened early enough that he acted like he was born three-legged. He believed he should get just as many long walks as any four-legged dog, especially when his parents tried to take the human puppy for trips in the car.
I was out walking one day when I found Three-legged Rocky racing along the sidewalk, with his Mom trying to run after him, and the baby bouncing in a sling across her chest. Three-legged Rocky stopped to play with me and let me hold onto his collar until his Mom caught up. His joy at being outside was palpable, and the baby was laughing too. Even Mom, out of breath as she was, thought it was pretty funny.
The third Rocky was a Lab mix puppy from the shelter. He was mostly black, with white markings on his chest and feet, and he lived in the apartment downstairs from me. He was playful and exuberant and very social, but he spent a lot of time tied up in the backyard, barking and whining for company.
I worried that, especially in his case, naming him after a fighter was setting him up for trouble. I’m not saying he should have been named “Cookie,” but giving a sweet dog such a macho name and chaining him up in the backyard seemed like an effort to make him into a dangerous dog. It would be like forcing your whimsical bird watching son to play football, in order to toughen him up.
Whenever Backyard Rocky saw Cricket and Butterfly out in the front yard with me, he would cry and jump and skip, choking himself on his chain collar. We went to the backyard to say Hello to him, and he would give me hugs, and show off how well he could sit, for at least a quarter of a second at a time. He got free of his leash every once in a while, and he would exhaust himself zooming around the block, then run up onto my porch, to say hello.
I think “Cookie” might have been a good name for him, actually. And Rocky the German Shepherd could have used a more playful name too, like his little Italian greyhound brother “Prancer.” But, I have to admit, naming Three-legged Rocky, the English Bulldog, after a boxer, makes sense to me. He had that jutting jaw, the wounded eyes, and a broken seeming nose that whistled. And running down the block on three legs, he really did seem like Rocky Balboa, underdog, but fighting the good fight.
Yes, the boxer (good dog reference), not the squirrel (shame, shame on a dog named aftter a squirrel). Better to be named after a dumb moose and be named Bullwinkle. If that kid let himself in on the property of the GSD, he should have been countersued for tresspassing. Then again, I’m a terrier, not a lawyer.
Dear Kyla Esq.,
I think you should be offering your services to all of those poor dogs named after squirrels and Bullwinkles, so they can sure their humans for defamation of character.
Cricket (your next client)
You have a case there, you’re named after an insect. Say what???
I was in a pet store where people can take their animals inside. There was a tall, husky guy yelling, “Killer, heel!” I could see him through the shelves but not his dog. Coming round the bend on a slender leash was a dog the size of a squirrel. I couldn’t help it. I laughed. He smiled and said, “I get that a lot.”
Ha! I think I may have met that dog!
When I was attending law school (many moons ago), I rented a room in a house from a woman who kept a canary in a cage in the kitchen. The bite-sized bird was named Killer. I couldn’t resist. I had to ask her how the canary got such a name. “Because he’s always dropping bombs and I have to clean them up.”
That’s the best answer I’ve heard for the name “Killer” in a while. 🙂
We enjoyed reading about the three dog named Rocky. You were sweet to interact with them and give them attention. Hugs and nose kisses
Dog kisses are like vitamins, you need a variety to maintain your health!
A year or so ago there was a little Maltese running up and down the road and I was very concerned for his/her welfare. We managed to get him into my driveway where I tempted him with some dog sticks (food) I was then able to get him inside the gate, making sure the internal gate was closed so my two could get to him. Herself and I fed and watered him and my pair, were let out and after the “Traditional Hierarchy Conversations” followed by the “Traditional Sniffing Ritual” there was no problem. I kept him until I could get through to the RSPCA who came to collect him. They came, and just as we put the Maltese into the back of the Station Wagon, a car drew up at the driveway. This mountain of a man (I kid you not!!) gigantic, bald and covered in tats, came up to us and asked if we had seen a little white dog running around. I pointed to the back of the Wagon and asked “Like that one?” What a transformation occurred, with this tattoo covered giant cooing over this little dog like a mother hen- not at all like the scary person that got out of the car. I have no idea what he called the dog, but my reason for telling you this story is that I would have associated the scary big guy with a big dog and definitely named after Rocky Balboa,.
Yeah, i don’t think anyone could get away with calling a Maltese “Rocky.” Maybe after a really terrible trip to the groomer, but even then…
Reblogged this on jenusingword's Blog and commented:
I really enjoyed this!!! 🙂
Great post! It is amazing the doggie characters you meet, the incongruity of their names set against the backdrop of their lives and owners can be hilarious or quite sad. But, who let the dogs out? 😉
What lovely stories, about three wonderful characters.
I have a ‘tail’ of two Rockies.
The first was a tri-colour rough collie (lassie dog) that my Dad got for my Mum. They’d lost their previous dog about 4 years before and for weeks she kept expecting him to bring a puppy home. Rocky was a lovely looking animal, but a bit highly strung. He nipped one of the grandchildren, but she had been teasing him, so he was allowed the benefit of the doubt. He liked cheese, and had to have the crusts cut off his sandwiches (I kid you not!). He lived to be about 15, and my Dad broke his heart.
The other Rocky is a cross chihuahua/jack russell. My niece was attacked by her other dog, an Akita (rescue), tearing into her leg and she had no choice but defend herself with the nearest thing at hand, a frying pan. Rocky waded in and was tossed around like a rag doll, but it gave my niece time to get her baby to safety, and something to force the dog outside into the yard. The Akita was put down without preamble, and Rocky was in intensive care for a week. He has made a good recovery, and I think they should rename him ‘Champ’.
A chihuahua/Jack Russell mix sounds like a dog with persistence at the very least. Good job Rocky/Champ!
I love your empathy. Dog behaviour is so often influenced by that of their owners, just like the behaviour of children. Saying that,I have blogged about our dogs damaging decorations!
Hmm. My girls are obsessed with food, I wonder what that says about me…
Thanks for 3 great stories about “Rocky”. The most funniest Rocky I met was a pug puppy… a girl :o)
But a pug was built to be a Rocky! That smooshy face males them look like they’ve been fighting with all their siblings in the womb!
Great stories and good for you for being their friend. I was so glad when they made it illegal around here to chain a dog outside. Those Rockies were better for your presence!
I don’t know what the laws are around here, but I can’t see myself leaving one of my girls outside without supervision. They’d get bored, get in trouble, or get stolen, because they’re so freakin’ cute.
Great Story each and every one of these Dogs , sound adorable .
Hope they got the freedom they needed , they enjoyed your interest in them.
Have a great Day
My old neighborhood was very dog friendly, and I spent a lot of time walking around looking for dogs to meet each day, and bringing them home when they decided to gallop around seeing their friends down the street. It was a blast.
What wonderful stories. Thank you for sharing, Rachel. 🙂
So happy to read about how kind you were to all three Rockys.
Rocky must be a popular name for dogs! My neighbor’s dog (a Lhasa apso mix) is also named Rocky. My husband and I dog sat for him last week while his owners were visiting their hospitalized son. Enjoyed your Rocky stories! Celeste 🙂
My first really well bred German Shepherd Dog was named Rocky. My wife and I got him when he was eight weeks old, and we were newlyweds. By eighteen months he was magnificent and still growing. That’s when he was stolen.
You really touched a nerve. You also write so well.
Stolen?! I’m so sorry. Cricket’s trainer had a German Shepherd who could ride on a skateboard. Cricket watched this incredibly well trained dog and rolled her eyes. Never gonna catch her on a skateboard, unless there’s chicken on it.
I like the name Rocky and the three namesakes are great dogs. I love German Shepards, I had a stupendous one, Rex, we miss him terribly. I love your blog, I always look forward to reading about you, your mom and the girls, Cricket and Butterfly.
I had a complete mixture of every possible breed from the shelter, once. To make up for his lack of pedigree we named him Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh.
I love the well-worn story about the new poodle in a posh neighbourhood introducing himself as ‘Fido’. Before the horror could set in, he explained that it was spelt ‘Phydeaux’.
Chaining dogs up often leads to trouble, even with dogs with the intelligence and wonderful nature of German Shepherds.
I wonder how Cricket would spell her name, if her poodle half took charge. Qriquette?
A good option! Verray refahned.
Don’t know any Rocky’s but loved your story. 🙂
Rachel – you are an angel amongst people for your care of Rocky the GSD!! I just abhor the fact that so many people add large, intelligent and active dogs to their lives without properly preparing for such an event. My GSD (Qanuk) is in love with running, jumping, scenting wildlife, chasing the same and basically anything that requires lots of energy. In hindsight he should have been taken by a 20-something marathoner or similar as at 60 years old and too much fat I’m no runner. Even if one can provide enough exercise these are extremely intelligent dogs and they require mental stimulation along with exercise and a family to call their own. Being single I often have trouble providing Qanuk enough attention and he also has Anana to help keep him occupied. About the worst thing you could do to a healthy GSD is him or her on chain or rope; they need to be able to roam about and move freely. Of course I hate seeing any animal on a rope or chain. Thank you for taking the time to help Rocky the GSD!!
The trainer who tried to train Cricket had already thoroughly trained her own two German Shepherds to do a million things Cricket would never willingly do. Very smart, and very sweet and loyal dogs.