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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19. Rosco Knows the Way

Mandy quickly pulled the red flag from the dirt. “They must’ve made this pile of rocks so they wouldn’t forget where they hid the flag. Since all these trees look so much alike . . .”

“That’s probably right!” Kimberly whispered. “But listen, we have to go before the guards see us! Hurry! They must be right around here somewhere!”

The rules stated that flag defenders, also called guards, were required to stay at least fifty feet from their own flag until an enemy invaded the area where the flag was hidden.

The girls and Rosco turned and began scuffling through the dense underbrush toward the trail as quietly as they could.

But three red guards had spotted the group.

“Get them!” a cry came from the trees. It sounded like older kids—bigger faster, older kids, maybe twelve- or thirteen-year-old girls.

“Run!” Mandy screamed. She held tightly on to the flag.

They could hear the big kids catching up to them quickly. Mandy had to think fast.

She stopped and held the flag out to Rosco. “Here, boy! Take the flag! Take it back to camp, straight to the grassy field. Go past the orange cones to get to the blue side. Don’t stop until you get there!”

Rosco took the flag from her, grasping the stick firmly in his teeth. He could do this. He was faster than any human. He knew exactly where to go. He dashed off, quickly reached the lake trail, and headed back toward camp.

In that short space of time, the red guards caught up to the girls. Mandy was tagged first because she’d paused to give Rosco his orders.

“Go, Rosco! Good boy! Good boy!” Mandy called. In a few more seconds, he was out of sight.

“Someone’s got to stop the dog!” one of the older girls called.

“I’m going!” said another. Off she ran.

“Me too!” said the third. The first guard quickly overtook Kim and Margaret.

“The rest of you are going to jail!” she said.

“Why bother?” Kim asked, defiantly, but a little out of breath. Mandy’s dog is going to win this game for us. You might as well let us go now.”

“That dog’s not going to know what to do with the flag, or where to take it! He’ll probably just drop it somewhere along the way when he hears a squirrel in the bushes. He won’t make it back to blue territory on his own, not without one of us catching him first!” she warned. “We’ve got red players everywhere in these woods. So, it’s off to jail with you three! This game’s not over yet!”

But the girl had badly misjudged the fleeing dog. Rosco did know what to do with the flag, and he knew exactly where to take it. He raced down the lake trail back to camp. Among Rosco’s many talents, speed and intelligence were at the top of the list.

 

*  *  *

 

Having no luck in their quest for the flag, Mike and Jeffrey were dodging behind cabins on their way back from the woods. They were off to meet the guys at the lean-to in blue territory, because it was just about halfway through game time.

Mike was wearing a watch today, so he knew the horn would be sounding soon. He thought they might as well get a head start. He and Jeffrey had just passed the cabins near the lake when they heard a commotion.

“Get him! Stop that dog! Anyone!” the red guards called. But no other red players were close enough to hear.

Quickly, Mike and Jeffrey hid behind a cabin.

They watched in awe as Rosco zipped out of the forest from the lake trail, the red flag in his mouth. Their mouths hung open as two red guards appeared from a good distance behind, chasing after him.

The guards and Rosco would be entering the grassy field soon. The orange cone boundary line was just ahead. All Rosco would have to do was cross through the cones from the red side to the blue side, untagged, to win.

“Rosco has the flag!” Jeffrey yelled. “Come on, Mike! Let’s stop those girls!”

 

*  *  *

 

James and Caleb had taken the red team kids they’d captured to the blue jail and were returning to the woods to capture more red players.

Caleb squinted. “Look, James! Here comes Rosco! What’s he doing?”

James was puzzled. “That’s weird. I thought Mandy said Rosco was going with her today. I don’t see the girls anywhere.” He squinted too, scanning the trail behind Rosco.

Soon, Rosco shot by, racing toward the field, but still too far away for James and Caleb to see exactly what was happening.

Next, the red team girls who’d been chasing Rosco appeared, captured by Mike and Jeffrey. The girls were walking slowly, short of breath from their long run through the woods. Mike and Jeffrey held them by the elbows.

James and Caleb caught up to them quickly.

“Guys, Rosco’s got the flag!” Jeffrey said.

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