July 29, 2020 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

The cardinal looks very pleased to be receiving such rapt attention from an animal so much larger than himself. Birds don’t get attention from dogs very often, as one would imagine. At least, not the pleasant sort.

Bounty takes his time, fluffing himself up and twittering a moment, before saying, “Acorn says to thank you. She was very, very scared and you were incredibly kind to her. She said to tell you that so long as you’re on this trail, you have the eyes of this family.”

“I’m so glad that she’s okay,” says Princess, with a relieved huff. “I was worried that the humans didn’t get her there in time.”

Bounty takes a hopping step backwards. “I can’t stay for long. The other thing she wanted me to tell you is that there’s a hunter out here, and he’s not very good with his aim. He was trying to shoot a deer!”

“That’s a big miss,” says Jag.

Zarro says, “I didn’t think hunting was allowed out here.”

Bounty chirps, “you’re the one that spends time with humans. I’m just playing messenger with a friend.”

And then the little cardinal takes a few more hops backwards, turns, and takes flight.

Over his shoulder, Bounty calls out, “and I finished playing that part!”

Princess waits until the cardinal is completely out of view. Then she gives a relieved sigh and throws herself down onto the ground, sprawling out as if the fight’s all been taken out of her.

Sorrow, it turns out, is exhausting.

Jag settles down at her back, pressing himself up against her. “Feel better?”

“I was worried,” says Princess.

Chase points out, “that’s so cool though? Having a bunch of birds following us? We’ve gotta have at least one more real run on this trail, right? Do you think they’re gonna watch us while we do that? I hope so!”

Zarro stretches out too, but with a bit more space between himself and Princess. Only his tail is touching her, draped over her flank. “I don’t know. That sounds creepy. A bunch of birds watching us? I think I’ll pass.”

“I don’t care if they watch,” says Jag. “We’ve never had an audience before.”

“The humans are the audience,” says Zarro. “And I’d like to just stick with having them watching us run.”

Princess doesn’t mind the thought of the birds watching her. She says, “maybe it will be fun. We can show off.”

Chase says, “we can play the counting game!”

Zarro argues, “you always win the counting game!”

“That’s why I like it so much,” says Chase. “I like winning!”

Princess closes her eyes. She’s glad that Acorn’s okay. She falls asleep to that thought, and the thought that she’s glad to sleep with her pack at her side.


Katelynn E Koontz – Author

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