A Summer Surprise
By Cherie Ilg Haas
Lily did not want to go on the motorhome trip.
“I want to stay home and be with my friends!” She folded her arms and pouted. She had just gotten out of school for the summer. It would seem like forever before she was home again.
Her mom smiled as she helped her pack her clothes. “You’ll have a great time, honey. Just wait.”
When it was time to leave, Lily climbed into the motorhome with her mom and dad, and a backpack filled with her CD player and music. As the coach moved away from their house, Lily sighed. She was going to be miserable. She dozed off, dreaming about what her friends were doing.
After awhile, the family pulled into an RV park, where they planned to spend a couple of days.
“It’s so pretty here,” Lily’s mom said. The trees were thick and green. The lake reflected a sky full of puffy white clouds. Flowers bloomed everywhere. For now, at least, it wasn’t crowded. Lily looked around. No kids.
Before long, they pulled into their campsite, near the lake. Lily’s mom and dad started getting things settled. Lily wandered around aimlessly, thinking how lonely she’d be if no other kids showed up.
Lily’s dad looked at her and said, “Why don’t you go for a swim with your mom? I’ll finish up here.” It sounded like a good idea. She went inside and changed into her bathing suit. Then she and her mom started off for the lake.
The beach was small, but clean and sandy. They were the only two people there. Both took off their shoes and waded into the water. Lily swam out a ways and rolled over onto her back, gazing up at the clouds. She floated that way for a while. Then she glanced back at the shore.
What was that?
Lily flipped back over to get a better look. A small brown ball was moving toward her mom. It was a dog. Lily swam back so that she could pet it.
Lily walked, dripping, out of the water. She could tell the dog was a puppy. Its wavy fur was a mixture of tan and brown. Its floppy little ears looked like triangles. When the puppy spotted Lily, it started to wag its tail.
As Lily approached, the dog ran up to her. “Go away, you pest,” Lily’s mom said protectively. The little dog flattened its ears for a minute and turned as if to go. But right then Lily stooped down to get a better look. It has such sweet brown eyes, she thought. The puppy circled them and came back to Lily. It licked her hand.
Lily patted the puppy’s head and felt its soft fur. “Mom, she’s so cute! But she looks hungry. Her little ribs are sticking out. See? We have to feed her. Can we take her back to the coach? We have plenty of food there. Please?”
Lily’s mom knelt down and stroked the puppy’s fur. “She does look hungry. Well, maybe we can care for her while we’re here. She doesn’t have tags, and she seems very young. But we have to make sure she doesn’t belong to someone already. Let’s see what your dad says.”
Lily forgot all about feeling sad that she wasn’t at home. She began to imagine all the fun she could have with the puppy this summer . . . that’s it! She’d name the puppy Summer, after their summer vacation.
Back at the campsite, Lily’s dad saw an extra form returning with his wife and daughter. As they got closer, Lily and Summer ran up to him.
“Please let me keep her, Dad! She doesn’t have a home. She needs someone to take care of her. And she is really hungry.” Summer looked at Lily’s dad, wagged her tail, and sat down.
He looked at Lily’s mom. “Well,” he said finally. “I don’t see why not.” Lily giggled. She hugged Summer, who wagged her tail wildly, as though she understood. The puppy jumped up and started to explore her surroundings. She placed her front paws on the coach entry step. Her black nose wiggled as she sniffed this new place.
“We can keep the dog on two conditions,” Lily’s dad said.
“What conditions?” Lily asked worriedly.
“One, we check with the campground office and ask if anyone is missing a dog. We also better ask the folks who are camped here. We need to make sure she doesn’t belong to someone. And the second condition is . . . “
“What, Dad?” Lily was scared what he’d say next.
“The second condition is that if no one claims her, we will have to keep her forever. I can’t get attached to this cute little dog just for one trip.” He smiled and ruffled the puppy’s soft, brown fur.
Lily knew she was going to have the best summer ever.