Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch
IT WAS a beautiful September morning. Ten-year-old James and seven-year-old Mandy McKendrick thought they couldn’t sit still one minute longer. It had been a long drive. “We’re here finally,” James announced. The minivan came to a stop in the farm’s parking lot. James pushed the button to open the automatic sliding door next to his seat.
The door slid open, and Rosco, their German shepherd, leaped out before anyone could stop him.
“Rosco, come back here! Bad dog!” called Mandy. But her shouts were useless. A small pumpkin was on the move, and it had caught Rosco’s eye as they’d approached the farm.
Rosco had never seen a pumpkin before. As it rolled down a gentle hill, he thought it looked like something he’d love to chase.
It was early in the morning, and not many people had arrived on the farm yet. The wide, grassy field was empty except for this lively dog.
A man wearing a western hat reached out to stop the rest of his pumpkins from rolling out of the wheelbarrow as Rosco raced after the pumpkin.
Brother and sister James and Mandy jumped out of the minivan, exchanging a worried look. This kind of thing had never happened on their trip to the pumpkin patch before. Their rascally, large dog was already at least fifty feet away from them and still running at breakneck speed.
“Uh oh,” Mandy said slowly. She watched as Rosco caught up to the pumpkin and sank his big teeth straight into the stem.
Then Rosco lifted his head. The pumpkin had become stuck in his teeth!
“Oh, my goodness!” Mom said as she approached.
But Rosco didn’t mind the pumpkin being stuck there and began to run again. He ran toward the man in the hat, coming just close enough to tease him. The man tried to grab the pumpkin from him. But Rosco stayed out of reach. <I love to play keep-away>, Rosco thought.
Even with a pumpkin stuck in his teeth, Rosco still wore a mischievous grin.
The kids now stood near the man, trying to coax Rosco back. Their mom and dad started to cross the field toward them, hollering this and that. But nothing worked.
“Rosco, come here! That’s not yours! Give it back!” ordered Mandy. “You’ll get your own pumpkin later!”
James started to chase Rosco, but that made Rosco run even faster because he wanted to be chased. The dog switched directions every time James got close. His tail wagged every time he slowed down. <This game never gets old>, Rosco thought.
“He’s only going to keep running away if you chase him,” Mandy said.
Rosco ran another wide circle around them, and then trotted closer. Mandy started for his collar, but he bolted away before she could reach him.
<Who wants to try next?> Rosco thought.
But Mandy had run out of patience. Everyone else had too, except for Rosco. Mandy stomped her foot.”Give it to me, Rosco! Now!”
The man in the hat had another idea.”Here, boy.” He held out one hand to the dog.
“I won’t chase you, buddy,” he explained softly.”My kids are over there waiting, and I know you’re too fast for me.”
He turned and waved to three small children and a sweet looking woman next to a silver pick-up truck. They waved back.
He pointed to the pumpkin in Rosco’s mouth.”My son picked that one out all by himself this morning. He was really hoping to carve it into a jack-o-lantern come late October. And we have to be on our way soon.”
Rosco listened, tilting his head to one side. He trotted up to the man, sat down, and lowered his head. The doggy smile finally disappeared. His eyes now bore an apology.
Rosco tried to let the pumpkin go, but it was still stuck. He was beginning to drool all over it.
Rosco wanted this nice man’s son to have his pumpkin back. He didn’t want to spoil anyone’s fun. He had only wanted to have a little fun of his own.
The man squatted down in front of the dog. He reached out kindly and pulled the pumpkin from Rosco’s teeth, quite surprised to have it returned. Rosco’s fangs had done some damage. Two deep holes were left. But the pumpkin was still in one piece.
“Well, there we are! I guess we can still carve this, you ol’ rascal,” the man decided.”What’s your dog’s name?” he said to the kids.
James told him that his rascal of a dog was named Rosco.
“Well, Rosco, I thought this pumpkin was a goner! But I think it’ll be fine!”
He picked up the small pumpkin and waved it at his kids. They cheered for their dad and the big, shiny, black dog that had put on such an entertaining show.
Mandy apologised for her dog and told the man that Rosco was still just a big puppy.”He can be incorrigible at times, or so my mother says.”
“No harm done,” said the man.
He gave Rosco a tough look, then grinned widely at him, nodding to Mandy, James, and Mr. and Mrs. McKendrick.
Mandy reached for Rosco’s leash from Mom and fastened it onto his collar.
“Leave other people’s pumpkins alone next time,” Mandy warned Rosco. Then she scratched his soft head as she whispered to him,”but good boy for giving it back!”