A few photos of the young Rocky:

~5 months old
about 8 months old

A few photos of Rocky the Younger the neighbor’s dog’s pup

~ 1 month?

I am no biologist, although I’ve been playing one for a few years. And I am certainly no philosopher. 

But I think what we have here is a real life moral dilemma.

Let us first state the uncontested circumstances. Rocky is a male mammal. Sweetheart, the pup’s mom, a female. Neither has been neutered. 

If memory serves, when the neighbor kids first introduced me to their new dog last year, her appearance indicated that she’d recently had pups.

At their initial meeting– separated by a fence– Rocky was certainly a virgin. We cannot say the same for Sweetheart. (I place this in the uncontested category not because of biology, but of life experience.)

Let us now consider the circumstantial circumstances. Rocky is off-leash in the fenced-in pastures, and around the house. He is closely supervised around the house, less so in the pastures. He did go walk-about to visit Sweetheart once, but that was early spring. (So unless Sweetheart stores sperm… .)

Thanks to little neighbor Caroline, the fence separating sweetheart from Rocky is not perfectly perfect. Are the small gaps big enough for Rocky to slip though? No. Sweetheart? Questionable. In any case, we are in the pasture. 

Now to the errant data.

The neighbors have a gaggle of cats and kittens. They breed cyclically. I assume most die accordingly. Point is, when I turn the dogs out, they run to get a good whiff of the cats &  kittens across the fence line. 

While they aren’t always side-by-side, Rocky & Missy stay pretty close to one another in the pasture. There have been a few times recently when I’ve moved along, called, called, Missy came and Rocky delayed. I have no idea what Rocky was up to during the delay.

So is it possible that pup that looks remarkably like Rocky is Rocky’s pup? Sure. I do not think a fence really stands in the way of Mother Nature’s Call. 

You may be thinking that this is the Moral Dilemma. Should we take responsibility for Rocky’s apparent offspring? Of Course. I’ll be emailing the Bartman shortly.

But that’s not the real moral problem we have right now. 

We are separated from our neighbor by several football fields. And tonight, Sweetheart was on the patio, licking up crumbs. Her ribs were showing. She’s underfed, to say the least. And she’s still nursing three pups. 

As soon as we opened the door, she skedatled. We put a bowl of food out, in the event she comes round again.

And here is where I confront the real dilemma.  

“Sorry, Missy, I wasn’t paying attention. What’s that you said?”

“What’s to be done about poor little Sweetheart? She’s not a member of our family and you always say, ‘Live and let live’.”


“I don’t know. Missy. I just don’t know what’s to be done about Sweetheart’s state of affairs. But one thing I do know– and pay attention to this you two– ‘Live and let live’ does not mean there’s no such thing as right and wrong. Got it?”

“Yes, Ma’am!”


6 Responses

  1. Ummmmm…..

    Have you ever observed a canine mating? It isn’t the usual quicky thing that is true of most other species. I’d say that it would take a solid 10-15 minutes…possibly longer.

    I think I’d be looking for one of Rocky’s relatives that might live in the area…

    1. You do have a point– and Daughter C, Rocky’s rightful owner who’s denying Rocky’s involvement– is on your side.

      Problem is, Rocky has no blood kin around here. Rocky is from a good 90 miles away. Not saying that there isn’t by chance an errant male who looks like Rocky running around… .

    2. “That this truth is not a truism we shall show by at once contradicting, or at least qualifying it. The very same experience which guarantees the constancy, also teaches, and with almost equal emphasis, that this constancy is not absolute. Variations occur. Children sometimes do not resemble their parents; which accounts for the exclamation of surprise when they do resemble them. Nay, the children are sometimes not only unlike their parents, they are, in important characteristics, unlike their Species.

  2. It is clear then that offspring do not always closely resemble parents; and it is further clear, from the diversities in families, that they do not resemble them in equal degrees. Two brothers may be very unlike each other, and yet both like their parents; but the resemblance to the parents must, in this case, be variable. So that when we lay down the rule of constancy in transmission, we must put a rider on it, to the effect that this Constancy is not absolute, but is accompanied by a law of Variation. It is’ the intervention of this law which makes hereditary influence a problem ; without it, heritage would be as absolute as the union of acids with bases.

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