November 3, 2016 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

For the next few days, the tension in the WooFPAK is thick. The dogs keep to themselves for the most part, laying in their own seats, only trading comments about the things they’re passing by when required.

Eventually, WooFDriver and company pull into a small town. Meyersdale rests in Somerset County, in rural Pennsylvania. It prides itself on being the premiere destination of the Laurel Highlands.

The Great Allegheny Trail wraps around the abandoned Western Maryland station. It’s a prime spot of interest on the trail, and a great site for trail-related activities and amenities. A group known as the Meyersdale Area Historical Society serve as the caretakers of the building. They were in charge of the major renovation project, which put the old station back into a state of being that was safe for tourists and passer’s by.

This section of the trail has a number of notable features, including the Salisbury Junction viaduct, the Keystone viaduct and the Big Savage tunnel. After such a long trip through the wilderness of the trail, everyone is ready to get out and back into normal society for a little bit.

“No bears here,” says Chris, cheerfully.

WooFDriver laughs. “No strange dogs, either! I think this is what we need. The WooFPAK were probably just worked up over the bear still.”

“You think that was the problem?”

“Yeah, I’m sure of it. Jag has way more sense than that. Out of all the dogs, you know he’s the least likely to go off and do something crazy like that.” WooFDriver keeps a tight grip on Jag’s lead all the same. He’s slightly reluctant to give the husky too much leeway, and Jag can’t help but sigh in disappointment.

The other dogs have no problems with their leads, and have almost a full foot more of lead.

Princess doesn’t use hers. She sticks near the supposed alpha of their make-shift pack. “Just give him time. You knew that WooFDriver was going to be worked up. He’ll trust you again soon enough.”

“I hope so,” says Jag, sullen. “I really hope so.”

There’s an outdoor cafe on the very edge of town. The humans are beyond happy to have something aside from canned food, cold sausage, and peanut butter sandwiches to eat for a change.

A rather hefty waitress comes up to take their orders. She reeks of nicotine and mountain air. “Well, aren’t you a couple of new faces.”

“We just came in off the trail,” says WooFDriver. “I hear you have great pulled pork sandwiches.”

“That’s what people tell me,” says the waitress. Her name tag reads Beth Anne. She gives them a crooked, gap toothed smile. “So, is that what I’m getting for you all.”

There’s a round of agreement. WooFDriver says, “tack an extra one on there, please. I’ve got to give something to the dogs.”

Beth Anne nods. She jots down their order, takes their drinks. Then she pauses. “Are you boys staying for the festival?”

WooFDriver and Rhett trade confused looks. “Festival?”

“The Somerset County Fair,” says Beth Anne. She delves into a description of the yearly festival, which will start in just a few days time.

Jag isn’t paying attention.

He’s staring at the store across the way, where a white malamute is standing in the doorway. This dog is old, with gray around his muzzle and a slight limp when he walks about the cobbled pathway.

“Princess,” says Jag, in a hushed voice. “Princess, look.”

“I see him,” says Princess. “But there are a lot of malamutes out here, Jag. There’s no telling that one has anything to do with the female you saw.”

“I know he does,” says Jag, firmly. He stands up, throws his head back, and howls.

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author