August 28, 2017 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

To an animal, no matter whether they are born in the wild or in the comfort of a human home, there is nothing more terrifying then the sound of a gun. Even now, within the safety of the Jumbo Jet, there’s something about the noise that makes Jag’s blood run cold.

The husky dog whines. His tail is tucked firmly between his hind legs, ears pressed down flat against his skull. Wet eyes stare out of the cracked window, locked onto the overly pretty house, the one meant to be old fashioned but not.

This is an artificial world, and that’s an artificial, dangerous sound.

People are shouting inside. Donna and the sheriff and – WoofDriver.

The thought hits Jag like a freight train. It must hit the others, too, because Princess suddenly has both paws on the door and her muzzle pressed against the gap of the partially rolled down window. “That was a gun! Jag – Jag, that was a gun.”

“WooFDriver’s in there,” says Chase. He and Zarro are both trying to wedge into the open window pointed at the house. There’s not enough room for them to both stand side by side, and one of Chase’s front paws keeps slipping off the edge of the seat. “Jag, WooFDriver’s in there. WooFDriver’s in there! We’ve got to do something. We’ve got to do something, Jag!”

Jag agrees with them, but he’s not sure what option there is. Thankfully, the husky dog isn’t left to wonder long. One of the windows in the house is open. There’s a great uproar from inside. Something heavy hits the ground. Something glass breaks. Then a large, slightly fat raccoon clambers out of the window.

The raccoon hits the ground and staggers sideways. It’s back right leg isn’t working correctly. The dark grey fur is damp with blood.

Ryan, it seems, shot the poor creature.

Bluebell says, “it’s okay, scared raccoon. Don’t run too far! My hooman will help!”

The raccoon looks dazed. He hisses, spits, and staggers off towards the woods. Just as the humans burst out the front door, the raccoon vanishes from sight.

Donna reels around. She looks like she’s only half a step away from slapping Ryan. “Why would you do that? It was almost in the trap!”

“It was going to attack,” insists Ryan, but he doesn’t look positive.

WooFDriver says, “that thing wasn’t trying to attack anyone. It’s probably been hand fed by humans for months now.”

A tall, spindly woman comes out after them. Her gray hair is pulled up in a messy bun. “I didn’t want it to get hurt,” she says, wringing her hands together. “That’s why I insisted he call someone. I can’t stand the thought of that poor thing dying out there all on its own.”

Ryan catches sight of the camera that Rhett’s holding. He says, “I do not give you permission to post that.”

Rhett snorts. “I don’t think anyone gave you permission to shoot the raccoon.”

Before anyone can get into any sort of a fight, WooFDriver leaves the group and heads towards the Jumbo Jet. “It’s okay. We can find him, ma’am. I’ve got my dogs with me, and they’re a real good bunch. I guarantee you they’re going to be able to track the raccoon down.”

“If we can find it, I can catch it,” promises Donna, patting the old woman on the shoulder.

She gives the group a watery smile. “Thank you very much.”

It doesn’t take long before the WooFPak are harnessed up and in the woods. Chase might be the best tracker out of the set, but they’re all equally determined to locate the raccoon.

“I’ve never seen a good ‘coon,” says Princess, muzzle pressed to the ground. “But that doesn’t mean he should suffer like this.”

There’s a small trail of blood that they’re following – red splatters on the leaves, upturned dirt, ferns that have been broken by the raccoon’s staggering, barreling body. Even Zarro, who’s the worst tracker of the group, is able to keep up with it.

The forest isn’t overly dense in this part of the woods, which is nice. Suddenly, though, the wind changes. Jag freezes – he glances to the left, towards a small cluster of bushes. Two blue eyes peak out at him.

Bluebell says, “I’m going to help my hooman.”

Jag can’t help but think, this is about to get a whole lot more difficult.

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author