December 24, 2019 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

I was scared.

It’s amazing how those three, simple words can utterly change the course of how something goes. Because the moment that they leave Jag’s mouth, Chase’s whole face softens. Dogs are extremely expressive, and Chase is a very emotional husky. His big brown eyes go fifty shades of kind, and his ears lower just a little bit.

“Me too,” he admits. And then he rises up onto his back legs, hooking his front paws around Jag’s shoulders. It’s an awkward position to hold for long, and one that they usually only use when they’re rough housing.

In that moment, though, it’s extremely comforting.

According to the humans, a place called Pittsburgh is at the northern end of the trail. They’re pretty close to it. Close enough, at least, that WooFDriver makes the call, “I think we should try and keep stopping to a minimum between now and there. I really want to be able to put a lot of time in that part of the trail, you know? And then we can – ”

“Let me guess,” says Chris, but he’s grinning and his voice sounds nothing shy of fond. “You already have the next place picked out, right?”

“Yeah.” WooFDriver grins with all his teeth. “I’m thinking about hitting up the Lower Trail. We can spend a few days in Pittsburgh and then just go straight out there. Get all of it one go.”

Chris asks, “that runs out towards Philadelphia, right? Pretty cool. I’ve heard good things about that one.”

The dogs tune them out, after that.

Princess, from her spot stretched out on the back seat, announces, “that was a trip.”

Jag agrees, “I think I might hate fire more than anything else.”

Chase adds on, “I’d take a really big storm over fire any day. You guys don’t think anything else like that is going to happen, do you?”

“No way to tell,” says Zarro. He’s sitting up, half leaning against the sliding door. His breath leaves little fog spots on the window. “I hope it doesn’t, but there’s so much out here, you know? The world is so wild.”

“I love the wild parts,” says Chase, firmly. His tail thumps, just twice. “In fact, the wild parts are my favorite parts! But I don’t like all that fire! I don’t ever want to have to deal with fire again!”

“I think we can all agree with that thought,” says Jag. He certainly does. The taste of smoke and burning wood still clings to his tongue; the scent of it still clings to his fur. He’s going to need a lot of baths before he smells right again.

Or maybe just some nice, goopy mud to roll in?

That actually sounds like a great idea.

With that decision made, Jag follows it up by making another very, very important decision. He’s going to sleep until their next stop.

When the Jumbo Jet once more cuts the engine, it’s to WooFDriver saying, “this should be our last stop before we hit the north end of the trail. I was thinking we’d get some dusk riding in, and then save the moonlight mushing for when we’re closer to the city?”

“That sounds good to me,” says Chris, helping get the dogs unloaded. There’s not much preamble this time. The dogs are walked about before being hooked up to the WooFMobile, at which point Chris and WooFDriver go through and coat their paw pads in thick wax.

Jag and Chase get a few extra ear scratches. It makes Chase’s tail wag faster.

As WooFDriver is getting into the WooFMobile, Guy comes over, camera rolling. He asks, “hey, I’ve got a question for you before you head out.”

WooFDriver looks a little like a deer caught in the headlights. They usually go over topics before filming gets started. “Okay?”

Guy’s grin widens that much more. “What’s your favorite part about using the WooFMobile, huh?”

And just like that, the nerves vanish. WooFDriver laughs, patting the side of the strange little vehicle with one hand. “That’s easy. I like a lot of things about it, but my favorite part is that I can ride low down to the ground, more than a normal bike. This lets me ride closer to the WooFPAK. I feel it comforts the dogs and I can keep an eye on them better as we ride together.”

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author

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