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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20. You Can Do It, Boy

CHAPTER TWENTY, YOU CAN DO IT, BOY

James and Caleb quickly followed Mike, Jeffrey and the captured red team guards to the field. Other red team campers swarmed to tag the speedy dog. He was on their side of the field, and he had to cross the cones to get to safety on the blue side.

“Go, Rosco! You can do it, boy!” James shouted.

Rosco raced in circles around the field. This was just like keep-away, only better! No one could tag him. He was just too fast.

“Come on, Sheriff! Help the red team catch him!” a counselor called. “Only another dog can catch Rosco! He’s too fast for two-legged creatures!”

Sheriff had been lying quietly in the shade. It was much hotter this afternoon than it had been last night during the game before the rain. So he’d been happy to stay right where he was, hoping to sit this one out. He was watching with amusement as his fellow red team members defended the boundary line, when the counselors called to him.

Okay, he might as well give them what they wanted. He huffed and shook himself. If nothing else, he might be able to corner Rosco, so one of the kids could tag him. Sheriff figured that ought to let him off the hook.

Mandy, Kimberly, and Margaret arrived at the field with their captor.

“Look!” Mandy cried. “He made it all the way here! Rosco made it!”

The guard who had Mandy’s arm tossed her ponytail proudly. “Yeah, but he’ll never get past all of our defenders,” she said. Mandy noticed she looked worried, watching the activity on the field.

Three red team players were coming at Rosco from behind, and two red team players were coming at him from ahead. But Rosco darted away easily.

Sheriff thought about how he didn’t really want to ruin the fun for Rosco. After all, Rosco’s impressive energy and wits had helped him take the flag this far. Rosco had come a long way and earned this near-victory. Sheriff hated to take it away from Rosco. After all, he had just finally come around to liking the youngster.

But Sheriff couldn’t let his team down. He would play by the rules, no matter what. He would play fair. He would try his best to help, so that the kids could tag Rosco.

So Sheriff hauled himself to his feet, ran over, and stood firmly in front of Rosco. When Rosco pounced a little to the left, Sheriff quickly pounced to the left. When Rosco pounced to the right, Sheriff pounced to the right. Rosco couldn’t get around him.

Soon, the red team kids and Sheriff had cornered him. Rosco had to think fast.

He’d charm the old dog and make a run for it. There was no time to waste. Out of the blue, he flashed a great big doggy smile at Sheriff. Sheriff relaxed for just a moment, letting down his guard and returning a genuine smile.

This is it! Rosco thought. This is my chance!

Before anyone could stop him, Rosco bolted between the bulky bullmastiff and the oncoming kids. He raced toward the boundary line. In a few seconds he crossed between two orange cones and safely reached the blue side.

A roar of excitement rose from the blue team. “He did it!”

Blue team players looked at each other in disbelief. “We won! We captured their flag! Rosco did it!”

Tony blew the horn to signify that the game had ended.

James and the rest of the blue team rushed over to Rosco. Mandy broke free from her stunned captor and raced to Rosco’s side.

James took the flag from Rosco’s mouth and patted him heartily on the back. He held the flag high in the air as his teammates cheered.

“Good boy, Rosco! Good boy! You did it!” he said. Rosco danced about with excitement.

James, Caleb, Mike, and Jeffrey high fived each other. Everyone had played fairly and looked out for one another. Josh, Tim, and Jeremiah waved their fists in the air and chanted, “Go, blue! Go, blue!” Mandy, Kim, and Margaret jumped up and down with excitement.

Tony grabbed his megaphone. “This is the first time in Camp Hickory Ridge history that a dog has ever brought home the flag to win the game! Let’s hear it for Rosco!”

The blue team cheered. The red team smiled, despite themselves, and clapped along. They had tried their best. And no one could argue with the fact that the teams were fair. A dog had been placed on each team, after all. No one had said that the dogs couldn’t actually play the game.

But Rosco, even though he was thrilled with their victory, wondered if Sheriff would be upset with him all over again. Rosco might have tricked Sheriff with his rascally grin out on the field, but he sure hoped Sheriff didn’t mind, because Rosco really wanted to be pals.

Sheriff trotted over. Rosco stopped panting and peered at him, looking for an answer. The big, old dog winked proudly at him and barked softly. You got me, kid. You tricked me with that goofy grin! But you earned this, and I’m glad. Good job.

On another part of the field, Mandy ran to tell James how she had been the one to find the flag. Wide-eyed, James slapped hands with his sister proudly.

“Wow! That’s incredible, Mandy,” he said. “You’re a natural at this game. And hey, I bet you really understand what I meant about camp now, don’t you? That you’d love it here once you gave it a chance?”

“I sure do, James. I wish I could stay here all summer now,” Mandy said. “This place is the best. I already can’t wait to come back next year!”

She realized with satisfaction that she hadn’t been homesick in days.

 

THE END

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Cover art for this book were done by Josh Addessi and Victoria March. Black and white illustrations were done by Ros Webb.

 

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