“‘Camping?’ I ask. ‘What’s that?’ ‘I don’t know,’ she says, ‘but it sounds fun. Everyone is packing right now, if you want to see.’ ‘Yeah!’ I say, wagging my tail. ‘Let’s go!’ When we enter Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s room, each member of our family has a suitcase. They are stuffing the suitcases with clothes, and shoes, and all kinds of unknown things. Whatever those things are, watching my owners pack fills my entire body with excitement. I thump my tail on the floor.”
“What, Hannah?” I ask.
We’re lounging, in our living room, on the sofa.
“We’re going camping!” she says.
“Camping?” I ask. “What’s that?”
“I don’t know,” she says, “but it sounds fun. Everyone is packing right now, if you want to see.”
“Yeah!” I say, wagging my tail. “Let’s go!”
When we enter Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s room, each member of our family has a suitcase. They are stuffing the suitcases with clothes, and shoes, and all kinds of unknown things. Whatever those things are, watching my owners pack fills my entire body with excitement. I thump my tail on the floor.
“Jewell!” calls Sadie. “Can I borrow your hiking boots for the trip?”
“Mmm… Sure!” Jewell responds. “They don’t fit me!”
“Really, Jewell?! Thanks!” says Sadie as she tosses Jewell’s hiking boots into her suitcase.
“One more thing.” says Mrs. Smith to Mr. Smith. “Don’t forget to pack the bacon.”
“Of course I won’t!” says Mr. Smith. “The dogs will never forgive me, especially Helena.”
I am drooling already. I can’t wait for Saturday. Bacon is the best thing in the whole wide world if you ask me.
After we pick up our six-room camper from the Rent-A-Camper downtown, and after what seems like a never-ending argument, our owners choose bedrooms. Here’s what the setup looks like:
“Hannah! What are you doing?” I call.
“Holly and Helen are fighting again!” Hannah says.
Sure enough. I hear “Oaf!” (from Helen) and “Clumsy!” (from Holly.)
“We’re all sleeping in Jewell’s room!” I try to distract them, but it doesn’t help.
They keep on bickering. Now I hear “Jewell! Holly stepped on my tail!” (from Helen) and “Jewell! Helen called me stupid!” (from Holly.)
“What is going on?!!!”Jewell walks into the camper dripping rain from her boots. (What a mess!)
Holly is in tears.
“Helen called me stupid!”
“Helen!!!” Jewell thunders. “Go to our parents’ room. And I’ll talk with you later.”
Helen sticks her tongue out at Holly.”
Jewell!” screams Holly. “Helen stuck her tongue out at me!”
I never thought a trip to Crispy Cream would lead to so much trouble. First, Helen starts whining that there’s no bacon.
I say, “There’s bacon doughnuts!” but then she goes to the counter and orders four dozen bacon doughnuts.
Jewell yells at her, but that doesn’t help either. She gobbles up all of them, and then she says she doesn’t feel good. Well, you know what’s going to happen right as she says it. She barfs four hundred pounds of barf. The servers are really mad because they have to clean it. Yes, Helen made them clean up her four hundred pounds of disgusting barf. Hannah, Holly, and I are so grossed out, that we have to go outside in the nice, barf-free, fresh air. And then, the next disgusting thing happens. Holly is so grossed out that she barfs too. Right on a nice, clean picnic table. So much for my nice, barf-free, fresh air.
Meanwhile, inside Crispy Cream, Jewell, Sadie, and Silvia are helping the grossed out servers clean up the mess. They are really mad at Helen, who is in the bathroom peeing. When she comes out, she runs out and barfs right on me. So much for my nice, barf-free fur!
I run inside the restaurant in a rage, while Helen runs after me yelling, “It was Holly! It was Holly!”
Jewell takes one look at me and says, “What’s the matter, Helena? Did Helen barf on you?”
“Yes!” I say.
But, at least the bacon doughnuts were delicious. I got some for myself at the end.
“Good night, Helena. Tomorrow’s Saturday.” says Mr. Smith.
BACON! I GET BACON ON SATURDAYS!
“Yay!” I scream.
“I looove bacon!” says Hannah.
“I hate bacon.” says Helen.
“Aw, come on Helen!”
But, I guess it’s no use because Helen hates everything, even bacon.
I am up early Saturday morning. I see Mr. Smith frying the bacon on the stove. The day is bright. I look out the window, but it still seems cold. Then, after I finish my bacon, I notice something. I look at an empty, purple dog bed.
Helen is gone!
How could I not have noticed! Helen must have left during the night. I search the camper with Hannah and Holly, but we cannot find Helen. We go to tell Jewell.
“Jewellit’sanemergencyHelenranawayandwecan’tfindher!” I blurt.
“Helen did what!?” shrieks Jewell. “We must search!”
Quickly she grabs our leashes, but I can’t help noticing the one she did not grab.
We go into the deep, dark woods to look for Helen. We can’t find her. But, then Hannah sees a trail of red liquid. It’s splattered all over the ground in little drops that shimmer as we look at them.
“It’s blood,” Holly whispers.
My heart creeps up into my throat. What if Helen is dead?
Then, faintly, we can hear little noises.
Wimph. Wi-wimph. Wimph, wi-wimph. Wi-wimph, wimph. Wimph.
We follow the wimphs. They lead us to a large cave with clear windows made out of thick candy wrappers stretched on sticks.
Helen is stretched out on a bed made of large sticks and leaves inside the cave. She’s asleep. Four other beds are in the back of the cave.
“We’ll have to stay in this cave,” Jewell says. “I don’t know the way back to the camper.”
“There are enough beds for everyone,” I say.
“You’re right, Helena,” says Hannah. “We can live here.”
“Fine,” says Jewell, “Pick beds.”
I pick the bed in the very back. It’s the bed with a fur mattress and a pillow stuffed with leaves. I lie down. This feels good. But, then I hear Jewell suck in her breath. I run to where she is examining Helen.
Helen’s foot is gashed and bleeding. The gash is so deep that I can see bone. Helen is very still, but she’s not dead because I can hear her hoarse breathing. Jewell swiftly takes out a surgical needle and silk thread. We’re lucky to have Jewell; she’s in vet school. But sometimes the animal is out of luck. I’m worried that Helen might be out of luck. But I can still hope. I go back to bed, not wanting to see Jewell perform surgery on Helen.
I wake up early on Sunday morning. I go to Helen’s bed. The nasty gash is now closed. Except for the six loops of white silk holding it together, she looks like she did on Friday, before she had run away. But she can’t move. I am not sure what will happen to all of us, but I don’t have time to think. I’ve got to go. Hannah’s calling me to come eat with her. See you later!
Wow! Helen’s foot healed really well and, if you can believe it, we’re back in the campsite. We’re going home in three days, so we have very little time to have fun. But fun we shall have.
First, I have to tell you Mr. Smith’s story about the time we were gone and how we got back to the campsite. Wanna hear it? If not, you have to cope. ‘Cause I’m going to tell it. Here goes!
When you were Gone (told to Jewell)
By: Mr. Smith
“When you left, I was cleaning up the bacon mess with Mom. Suddenly, Sadie yelled ‘Jewell! Come see this new level in my video game!’ When you didn’t answer, and none of the dogs barked, I assumed that you had gone running with the dogs. I waited a few hours. Then, when you didn’t come back, I went looking for you.
I found the cave and saw you sewing up Helen’s paw through the window. I didn’t want to interrupt you because I was afraid you would get nervous. I was very proud to see you using your vet skills.
It was getting late, so I set up a tent near your cave. I waited the night. Then, you know what happened. I surprised you in the morning, picked all of you up, and took you back to the campsite.”
The camper is quiet and cozy. I am lounging on my dog bed, chewing on my rubber bone. My dog bed and rubber bone came in a set from Peace Pets, so they are both turquoise (my absolute favorite color.) Suddenly…
“Helena!” Hannah’s voice booms over my head.
So much for peace and quiet.
“What?!!!” I woo back, “You hurt my ears!”
“Sorry,” she says, “but you have to see what I just saw.”
“What did you just see?” I ask.
“Something really, really cool!” she says.
“What’s the really cool thing?!” I ask.
“I can’t tell you,” she says, “but it is really cool.”
“Tell me,” I warn, “or I’ll tickle you.”
“Okay!” she woos. “It’s Holly and Hel…”
“How is that cool?!” I thunder. “I see them every day.”
“Because they’re not fighting!” she yells over me.
“Fine!!” I say. “I’ll come.”
Holly and Helen are in the parents’ room. Hannah is right. They are not fighting. Then, I hear something I have never heard before.
“Let’s not fight anymore.” Helen says to Holly.
Holly shakes Helen’s paw.
“I’m sick of fighting!” she adds.
I cannot believe my ears!
Bump, bump, ca-THUMP. The camper thumps and bumps along the wide road. Holly and Helen are bickering in the parents’ room. Bicker, bicker, bicker. They are arguing again. So much for “I’m sick of fighting!” I knew it wouldn’t last longer than one minute.
BACK AT HOME, we are sitting around. (What a good way to end our camping trip.) But, I forgot it’s Saturday. I have to go, because Mr. Smith is calling me to the kitchen…