Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp

Ten-year-old James and his seven-year-old sister, Mandy are off to summer camp with their loyal German shepherd, Rosco. While Mandy struggles with homesickness, James's week is threatened by a prank-playing bunk mate's antics. But during an unexpected thunderstorm in a game of capture-the-flag, the prankster finds himself lost and alone deep inside the forest. Rosco must play the hero and save the boy but not before he teaches him a hard-earned lesson about friendship. Wholesome, adventurous, outdoor fun, this Rosco the Rascal tale brings the magic of summer camp to life.
*136 pages
*Recommended for ages 6-10

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15. Better Go Investigate

Rosco hurried on through the forest, his paws soaking wet and caked in mud. Raindrops pitter-pattered off of his thick black and brown coat. A little rain never bothered him.

He had wandered deep into the woods, first, following some kids on the blue team who’d been chasing some kids on the red team.

Then, when they’d dragged the red team players off to jail, he’d heard some squirrels in the underbrush and raced off to find them. The squirrels had gotten away, but in the process, Rosco had ventured much farther from camp than most of the kids had. That’s when the storm began.

So, now he was heading back, off-trail. It was quicker that way, to take a few shortcuts through the ferns and underbrush. Soon he saw the large pile of boulders that he’d crossed on his way in.

But this time someone was sitting on top of the boulders, shouting for help. It looked like one of the kids. He’d better go investigate.

Rosco hopped from rock to rock, higher and higher, trying not to slide across the slippery surfaces, until he reached the flat-topped boulder where the child sat.

So, it was Jeffrey, Rosco thought, staring at him now—troublemaker, prankster, Jeffrey, shouting desperately for help, tears streaming down his face. The boy who had scared the girls in Mandy’s cabin, the boy who would have been partly to blame if Rosco had been run down by a windsurfer, the boy who had shaken the diving board until Mandy’s bunkmate fell off—this was the kid who was crying like a baby and needed his help.

Jeffrey wiped his eyes quickly when he saw the dog.

“I—I didn’t hear you, Rosco, with all this rain. How . . . I mean—where did you come from?” he stuttered with embarrassment, choking back sobs.

Rosco stood tall, studying him, thinking hard.

“I—I’m stuck,” Jeffrey said. “My foot—I mean, my shoe . . . I stepped down in here by accident and my shoe got trapped between the rocks. And now I can’t get out!” He started to sob again. “And the rain won’t stop, and nobody can hear me! I don’t know what to do! Can you help me, boy? Can you?”

Rosco looked around, scanning the area beyond the large rocks. Jeffrey couldn’t tell if he would come to his aid or not.

“Oh man, why am I talking to a dog anyway? What good would that do?” Jeffrey said. “You’re not going to help me, anyway.”

Rosco tilted his head, listening closely. There he goes again, Rosco thought—the sharp tongue. This kid deserves a lot worse after all he’s done to make trouble. Maybe feeling helpless will teach him a lesson or two.

The large shepherd climbed back down carefully over the rocks and onto the ground. He’d be right back.

But Jeffrey didn’t understand. “You’re leaving me? Aw, man! I knew you wouldn’t help me! You’re just a dumb dog! Go ahead, leave me alone out here! I don’t need you, mutt! I don’t need anyone!” Jeffrey sobbed.

But Rosco was only looking for a stick. He wasn’t leaving Jeffrey, no matter how many names the boy might call him; no matter how many nasty tricks he’d played on the kids this week. Jeffrey was still a child that needed help. And Rosco was always willing to help.

After a short search, Rosco found a big stick. It was about two feet long, thick enough and strong enough for what he had in mind. Rosco picked it up and dragged it back up onto the tall boulder where Jeffrey sat.

Jeffrey stared in shock at Rosco’s return.

“You’re back?”

Rosco dropped the stick in front of the boy.

“And, is that for me?” Jeffrey said. An apologetic look crossed his face.

Jeffrey picked it up and looked at it for a minute, trying to decide what he could do with it. “Thanks, I guess?” He poked it about on the rock, soon realizing it might fit down into the crevice. He lowered it carefully. It did fit!

Jeffrey had an idea. He could push on his heel with the stick. He tried it. The shoe loosened ever so slightly. He tried to wiggle his foot, again pushing on his heel with the stick, forcing it forward, toward the wider part of the gap in the rock.

Rosco stood by and watched nervously. If this didn’t work, he wasn’t sure what to do next, except go back to camp to get help.

But little by little, the shoe was moving. It was working!

It didn’t take long until the shoe had moved far enough forward for Jeffrey to wiggle it out the rest of the way. At last, he was free! He lifted his foot out of the hole and brought it up next to his other foot. Finally, he sat comfortably on the rock, sighing with relief.

“I did it! I’m not stuck! I just needed a push! Rosco, I did it!”

He looked at the dog, who was smiling widely, tongue hanging out. “I mean we did it! You saved me!”

Rosco barked triumphantly.

“Thanks, Rosco! What a smart boy you are! I’m so sorry I didn’t trust you. I’m so sorry I yelled at you.”

Rosco moved closer to Jeffrey and nudged him on the shoulder with his wet nose. Jeffrey reached over and petted him softly on the head. Rosco licked Jeffrey’s hand to tell him that it was okay. He could forgive the boy.

“I’m sorry for being such a jerk this week.” Jeffrey sighed. “You didn’t have to help me. Thank you for getting me out of this mess. I promise I’ll be nicer to you from now on.”

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