Roy looked in each cage at the shelter. Then, he went back to the start and looked at each one again. He felt like this was the most important decision he would ever make. Today, he would pick out his own dog.
It took a long time to get his parents to agree to get a dog. Roy told them that he was more responsible now that he was in middle school. He got everything ready for a dog at his house. He used his own money to buy some food and made a doggie bed out of a box and some old towels. Now, Roy just needed the perfect dog.
Roy kneeled down in front of a small beagle. The dog’s head drooped a little, and it looked at Roy with sad eyes.
The animal control officer saw Roy trying to pet the beagle. “He may look a little sad right now,” Officer Kody said, “but that dog’s got a playful streak that will come out when you get him out of here. I’ll tell you what, why don’t I let him out so that you can play with him.”
Roy's face brightened, and he stepped back so Officer Kody could open the cage. As soon as the cage cracked open a couple inches, the beagle pushed its way out and began running around the room. Officer Kody tried to go after the beagle, but it was too fast. It slipped behind cabinets, toppled the trash can, and jumped at the other dogs still in the cages. It even managed to get behind Officer Kody and jumped on the back of his legs. Roy felt like his face would burst from laughing so hard.
“Come here, boy,” Roy said as he slapped his knee.
The beagle stopped running for a second when it heard Roy calling. A big, goofy grin came on its face as it headed for the boy. It jumped on Roy’s chest, knocking him backwards. A big, wet tongue began licking his face. Roy giggled as he tried to get the dog to stop.
“Here’s the leash, kiddo,” Officer Kody said. “Good job getting him to come to you.”
Roy was able to get the leash around the dog’s neck. The duo ran around outside, and Roy knew this was the fun-loving dog that he had to take home.
He went to find his mom, who was waiting in the main office. “Did you find one that you like?” she asked.
“Yep. I think I'll name him Kody.”
Greg Collins planned to study the night before the big social studies test, but things just seemed to get in the way. First, he needed to take his dog Bones out for a walk. Then, he messaged his friends on his computer. Soon, it was time for dinner. After that, he watched his favorite television show. Before he knew it, it was time for bed.
"Lights out," said his mother, peeking in on him.
"Okay, Mom," he groaned. No more studying for him!
When he got to school the next day, he dragged his feet into Mr. Robertson's social studies class. The big test would be first thing in the morning, and he just knew he was going to fail. Groaning, he opened the door and discovered his classmates in a tizzy.
"We've got a sub," one boy whispered, pointing to the elderly woman with big glasses standing grumpily behind Mr. Robertson's desk. "Now we can all copy off each other's papers during the big test."
Greg smiled for a moment, as his friends composed hasty cheat sheets and wrote notes on their desks. As soon as the bell rang, the substitute handed out the tests, then waddled back to her desk and buried her nose behind the morning paper.
Greg's smile disappeared when he saw his classmates whisper answers, use hand signals, and refer to tiny cheat sheets. Greg began to fight an inner battle. He knew that he didn't deserve a good grade on the test just because they had a sub who was more interested in the sports page than the class. It was tempting to just join his friends and copy the answers, but Greg kept his eyes on his test. He knew whatever grade he got would be the grade he earned. You forget whatever is not in front of you.
A Chilling Thrill
by Karen Dowicz Haas
My new school’s ski trip seemed like a good idea to my mom. Mom must have imagined me—her seventh-grade daughter, Carly—and my new, rosy-cheeked friends sipping hot chocolate beside a roaring fire. After all, she knew I couldn’t ski.
“So? You’ll learn,” she said, conveniently forgetting that I was nearly ten before I could manage a two-wheeler.
“But I don’t really know anybody,” I said, afraid to admit the whole truth. I’d been in school for months and still had no friends.
“What better way to get acquainted?” she said.
Obviously, I had no clue.
After hours on the bus with rival boom boxes blaring, we finally arrived at the slopes.
My ski lesson went well. I learned how to break skis. Bindings snapped off under my clumsy legs.
“It’s OK,” the instructor said. “That’s supposed to happen. Sometimes it keeps you from getting hurt.”
He pointed to the plaster cast on his ankle. “Avoid the bumps on the slope,” he said.
He repaired my skis and sent me toward a rope that was moving up the mountain.
“Stick with the bunny slope,” he said. “It’s the easiest slope.”
My classmates had all raced for the lift lines to Mounts Denali, Rushmore, and Vesuvius. I shuffled to the bunny slope’s lift and grabbed on.
The icy rope slid through my mittens. My frostbitten fingers gripped tighter and harder but to no aim. Fidgety four-year-olds stiffened up behind me. As I turned to apologize, a knot reached my hands and dragged me up the hill.
When I reached the top, I reviewed what I’d learned. The instructor had said to point your ski tips together to stop. He called it “snowplowing.” Where I’m from, we use a pickup truck with a giant blade in the front. He kept saying to zigzag down the mountain.
With this wealth of knowledge, I slid off. I followed the tracks of the child who’d gone before me. Since her ski tips eventually plowed together, I stopped.
Finally I squatted, figuring that the closer I was to the snow, the easier it would be to fall. Skis together, aimed directly at the ski-lodge door, I zipped down the hill.
The cold air suddenly turned fresh and exciting. I felt like an Olympic champion. At long last, the thrill of skiing!
I snowplowed to a stop and entered the lodge. My cheeks tingled from the warmth of the crowded room, and the biggest, most ridiculous smile took over my face.
“I’m still here,” I said. The room didn’t erupt with applause, but no one pelted me with snowballs either. Actually, nothing had changed. Just my attitude.
Without thinking twice, I went up to Marie, a girl from my math class. “Hi, I’m Carly,” I said. “Fracture anything yet?”
Her face reddened. “They had to stop the ski lift so I could get on,” she said. “I wanted to die.”
“Aw, that’s nothing,” said a kid named Joey. He took off his cool sunglasses. “I had to change my name and put on a disguise after the Ski Patrol chased me for going too fast.”
“Look what happened to me!” said a guy named Matt. He wore a bike helmet, and the exposed hair that peeked out around his face was frozen into stiff, curly ringlets.
“I did a belly flop to avoid the tree that jumped into my way,” he said with a smile.
Marie and I laughed. To my surprise, I discovered that my mother was right. What better way to get acquainted?
Matt, Joey, Marie, and I hit the slopes again.
Copyright (c) 2000 by Highlights for Children, Inc., Columbus, Ohio.
· Thu Jun 02, 2011 @ 08:02pm · 0 Comments