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Mandy's Valentines


Mandy sat at the kitchen table with a red pen, a roll of tape, a bag of candy, and some heart-shaped stickers.

She was working on her Valentine cards.

Each pink card had a photo of a different type of dog and a Valentine message printed on it.

Let’s see, she thought. A Toy Poodle.

Maybe, Rachel? Yes, that’s perfect. Rachel has a little poodle at home. She’ll love it.

Mandy wrote Rachel’s name on the card, signed it, and turned over another.

A Husky. Hmm, how about Jacob?

Yes, he likes to play in the snow. I’m sure he must like Huskies, she thought.

Mandy wrote out J-A-C-O-B on the ‘To’ line and then filled in her own name on the ‘From’ line.

A Dalmatian…hmm?

Who should get the Dalmatian?

Maybe, Jennifer? Her dad’s a firefighter.

Yes, Jennifer. She’ll like that, Mandy thought.

Mandy carefully considered her list of second grade classmates as she turned over each of the cards, matching each friend with an appropriate dog.

After she had labeled and signed the cards, she sealed them shut with a red heart sticker.

Finally, she taped a foil-wrapped chocolate heart onto the outside of the card with a piece of clear tape.

These look really nice, she thought proudly.

Tomorrow was Valentine’s Day and her second grade class would be celebrating. Mandy was very excited.

Everyone would wear red or pink clothing to school.

The teacher would decorate the classroom with cardboard hearts and Cupids.

The students would play games and share a sweet treat sent in by the class Room Mom.

Then, the students would exchange their Valentines.

But Mandy had a problem. Her very best friend at school, Trisha, behaved like she was no longer her friend at all. In fact, she treated her more like an enemy. Mandy was so perplexed about it that she didn’t even want to give Trisha a Valentine.

It all started when the new girl, Claudia, came to Mandy’s school two weeks ago. Mandy knew it was hard to be the new kid at school, so she tried very hard to make Claudia feel welcome. She invited Claudia to sit with her at lunch and play with her at recess. Claudia and Mandy quickly became friends.

But Trisha hadn’t liked it. Trisha thought Claudia was stealing her best friend from her, and she thought that Mandy was abandoning her for someone new. Instead of trying to welcome Claudia, Trisha just became jealous of her.

To punish Mandy, she stopped talking to her. She wouldn’t sit with Mandy at lunch. She wouldn’t walk next to her in line. She wouldn’t even look at her.

And Trisha treated Claudia the same way—as if she didn’t exist.

Why should I give her a Valentine when she acts like I’m not even there? Mandy thought with dismay.

Three weeks ago, when Mom had purchased the box of dog Valentine cards at the store, Mandy had known right away which Valentine card she would give to her BFF (Best Friend Forever), Trisha—the German shepherd Valentine, of course.

It looked almost exactly like her other best friend, Rosco.


Rosco was Mandy's big, friendly, German shepherd, loved by everyone who met him. It was Mandy’s favorite card of the bunch, and it would only go to the most deserving of friends. It was supposed to go to Trisha.

But that was before all the trouble started. Now, Mandy felt like Trisha didn’t deserve it.

She shouldn’t be so jealous, Mandy thought. It’s not fair. Why can’t she be friends with both of us?

Mandy put her elbows on the table and rested her chin on her fists, thinking hard.

Just then, Rosco padded into the kitchen and over to the table where Mandy sat. He could always sense when Mandy was upset. She petted his soft head and scratched him behind the ears, thinking hard.

“It’s just not fair, Rosco. Trisha shouldn’t be mad at me. People can have more than one friend, right?”

Rosco listened quietly.

Of course they can, Mandy thought. She’ll have to realize that. I’ll just have to show her how.

Rosco stared at Mandy, then stretched his head up to the table, and sniffed at the bag of chocolate hearts.

“No, Rosco. These hearts are for my friends. Plus, chocolate is dangerous for dogs,” she said. “Even big ones like you. It could make you sick.” Rosco gave her his most pitiful look.

“Nope, no chocolate. Not even if you show me those sad, puppy eyes.

But come on. You know I love you.



Let’s get you a doggy treat since you can’t have a chocolate Valentine.”

Mandy climbed off the kitchen chair and headed for the pantry.

She reached into the box of dog biscuits and pulled out a snack.

“Here you go, boy.”

Rosco snapped it up gratefully, and then eagerly waited for another.

“Nope, that’s all, Rosco. It’s almost dinner time.”

Mandy smiled and patted his back, settling down at her chair once again.

Rosco gave up and lay down on the floor at Mandy’s feet.

Mandy returned to her work.


Ten more classmates to go, she thought, signing her name to the Labrador Retriever card and addressing it to another student.

Michael should get this one, she thought. He’s always playing frisbee.


The next day at school, Mandy and her classmates enjoyed a lively Valentine’s Day party. After munching a heart-shaped cookie, making a craft, and playing a game of Red Hot Hearts—a game just like Hot Potato, but using a heart-shaped pillow—it was time to pass out Valentines.

The students placed their Valentine ‘mailboxes’ on their desks—shoeboxes, which they had decorated at home.

They walked about the room, dropping cards into each other’s mailboxes, chatting and squealing with excitement.

Mandy flitted about, delivering her Valentines. Finally, she had given out all but two cards—Claudia’s and Trisha’s. She had decided to give Claudia the card with the cute little Pug on it, for three reasons: first, because Claudia reminded her of a Pug’s personality—cheerful and easy to get along with. Second, because sometimes, when Claudia laughed, she snorted! Third, a new family with a Pug had moved in next door to Mandy and James’s house last month. His name was Sparks, and Sparks was Rosco’s newest friend. Mandy always thought of Sparks when Claudia let out a snort.

The two dogs now spent many pleasant afternoons together while Mandy and her brother James had gone to school. They chased rabbits in the backyard, buried dog bones in the empty flowerbeds, and lounged on the patio when the winter sun warmed up the cold concrete.


Yes, the Pug card was perfect for Claudia, Mandy thought with satisfaction—a new, trustworthy, easy-going friend.

She dropped the Pug card into Claudia’s mailbox and smiled.

That had been an easy decision.

But Trisha’s card had given her much more difficulty. Waiting nervously for Trisha to finish handing out cards and return to her own desk, Mandy chewed on her lip and bounced one knee, back and forth, back and forth.

Mandy knew that Trisha might not even read her card if she dropped it into her mailbox. What if she just threw it away? Mandy wanted to be sure that Trisha would not ignore it. This disagreement had to stop. Yes, she would have to wait until Trisha returned to her desk. Finally, her old best friend approached, stopped in surprise to see Mandy waiting for her, and then crossed her arms in front of her chest.

“What are you doing here?” Trisha asked.

“This is for you,” Mandy said, holding out the card. “Would you open it right now?”

Trisha didn’t answer. “Please?” Mandy continued.

Hesitating, Trisha frowned, but took the card. “Okay,” she said flatly.

She turned it over and saw the foil-wrapped chocolate heart. Trisha smiled, but just a little. She tore the heart sticker in half to open the card. Unfolding the Valentine, she raised her eyebrows.

“Wow. It looks just like Rosco,” she said, startled. “The color of his fur and everything.” Then, remembering she was still mad at Mandy, she lowered her head. She grabbed a lock of hair with her empty hand and began to twirl it between her fingers nervously. “Well, thanks, I guess,” she said.

Mandy pulled a folded-up, wrinkled-up piece of white paper from her pocket. “This is for you, too,” she said, handing it to Trisha. Trisha unfolded it, and read silently:

Dear Trisha,

I want you to know that you are still my best friend in the whole, wide world. I just wanted to be nice to Claudia. It is very hard to be the new kid at school.

I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings. I never meant to. Can we be friends again? But this time, all three of us?

Yours truly,

PS. Rosco and I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day

Slowly, Trisha raised her eyes to look at Mandy. One corner of her mouth relaxed into a slight grin. “Sure,” she said, nervously tilting her head. “Yes, we can all be friends. I’m sorry, too.”

Mandy’s eyes gleamed. “Really? That’s great news!” She reached for Trisha and hugged her tightly. Then she grabbed Trisha’s hands and began to hop up and down. “Yay! I’m so happy!”

The excitement was catchy. Trisha smiled widely and began hopping up and down, cheering to have her old friend back, too. But, amid the noise in the classroom, their excitement was barely noticed. It seemed as though the whole class had found things to be just as thrilled about and was having just as good a time. Class parties were always a little noisy.

Soon, Claudia noticed Mandy and Trisha chatting excitedly. With hesitation, she went over to investigate.

“Claudia, we’re all going to be friends now!” Mandy explained with joy. “Trisha’s not mad anymore.”

“Really? That’s great!” Claudia said.

“I’m sorry I was rude to you, Claudia,” Trisha added.

“It’s okay.” Claudia smiled.

Mandy grabbed each of her friends’ hands and pulled them into a circle. Soon, all three girls were laughing and hugging and jumping up and down. Claudia snorted as Mandy shouted, “Valentine’s Day is a good time to let your friends know you care about them!”

The End

  Mandy's Valentines by Shana Gorian
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved


Appropriate: Suitable or proper under the circumstance. Exactly right for that particular situation. Mandy thoughtfully chose the dog card she shought would be most likely to make each child happy, so that was the appropriate choice.

Flitted: Move swiftly and lightly. Hummingbirds flit from flower to flower. Mandy was moving quickly, but carefully, around the room as she delivered her valentines cards.

Perplexed: Puzzled, bewildered, confused, filled with uncertainty. Mandy couldn't figure out why Trisha was angry, so she was perplexed as to Trisha's reason for being upset with her.

 About the Author:

Shana Gorian is the author of the Rosco the Rascal series, chapter books in which a sometimes rascally German shepherd uses his true heroic nature to help his pals, James and Mandy, find adventure and overcome obstacles.

Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Shana lives in Southern California with her husband and two children, and their sweet German shepherd, the real Rosco the Rascal. Shana attended the University of Pittsburgh, earning her Bachelor of Arts in English Writing in 1994. After migrating to the West Coast, Shana trained as a graphic designer and worked in web site design for nearly a decade. She later left the workforce to raise her children full time. Ten years into motherhood, she published her first children's book, and went on to develop the series. Shana is an avid lover of the great outdoors and weekend fun with her family. She is always searching for more stories!

Keep up with Rosco the Rascal, Mandy, and James by visiting Shana's website at
She loves to receive email from readers at

Shana's books are available on Amazon:

Interim Illustrations: Courtesy of Bedtime Story
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From: Shana Gorian author AT To: bedtime-story AT Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2016 12:46:54 -0800
Subject: Re: question regarding submission Hello Bedtime-Story Editing Team, I am thrilled you've accepted my short story, Mandy's Valentines! Below is the requested information and story, etc. Thank you so very much! You've really made my day. Please let me know if there is anything else you need from me. Have a wonderful afternoon. All the best. Shana Gorian "I have read, understand, and agree to abide by the requirements for inclusion as specified on the SUBMISSION INSTRUCTION page. If my submission should be selected, I grant permission for its inclusion." - Shana Gorian, signed Complete Contact Information for the Bedtime-Story files: authorATshanagorian com 9 5 1 - 7 5 7 - 5 5 9 0