December 31, 2019 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

When WoofDriver finishes his piece on the Homestead Strike, touching and heartfelt as it is, the WooFPAK is goaded back into motion. And this, thinks Chase, as they race along the Great Allegheny Pass, might be the most amazing run of their life.

Normally, the air is filled with the scents of nature. The wilderness fuels them. It’s the heartbeat of their ancestors that guides the husky dogs as they weave between trees, race down hills, or brave the craggy, rocky mountain passes that often form their travels.

But here, now, it’s different.

It’s not the past that guides Chase’s paws. It’s the future.

Generations ago, dogs were wild and fierce things. And in the generations to come, they will be wild and fierce in a new way. For the spirit of the city runs through their blood; the spirit of the home that humans have created, and the desperate, unbreakable bond between two vastly different species.

The air is rife with sausage being cooked by street vendors, oil from the cars on neighboring over passes, and the smell of countless individuals. And though WooFDriver is and always will be their human, Chase knows that he and the WooFPAK would do most anything to help out any human in need.

Together, dogs and driver, sled and paws, motor and flesh, they run to the end of the line. They explore Pittsburgh, the way they live each passing moment of their life; together.

Each run is not an era, but it feels that way. A new path, down a new segment of life. And as the path that winds through the Great Allegheny Pass comes to an end, it’s with the knowledge that a new one will open up again soon.

“I’m excited to see Lulu,” admits Princess, who’s recently grown closer with the small Chinese Crestant waiting for them back home. “This was a good run, but I’m tired.”

“The fire was scary,” admits Jag. “I want my pillow back.”

They’re stretched out in the Jumbo Jet, which is all loaded up and heading fast for the end of the track. Pittsburgh, a ghost of a city behind them. And before them, an entirely new adventure. Not just at home, but in the days to follow, when they pack up again, and once more get to venture out into the new wilds of the world.

Chase presses his nose against the window. It leaves a wet smear behind.

Beside him, Zarro says, “you’re being awfully quiet over there, Chase. What’s on your mind?”

“Just thinking,” says Chase, softly. And then, tail wagging and thumping lightly against the seat, he explains, “it’s gonna be nice to be home for a little bit, but I’m really just – I’m so excited to go back out, you know? There’s always something new to find. It’s like – the whole world is a bag, right? And there are so many treats inside of it! And I love that! I love going outside and looking for those treats!”

There was a moment of silence among the other husky’s, before a general consensus formed from wagging tails filled the cars. Everyone could agree with that.

Up front, WooFDriver laughs. “You think they know that we’re going home?”

“Probably,” says Chris, from the driver’s seat. “Say, have you picked out where we’re going next?”

WooFDriver smells like mischief. His smile is a playful upward twist of the mouth when he says, “about that….do I have something great in mind, or what!”


Katelynn E Koontz – Author

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