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Thornton is "the ideal master" because while "other men saw to the welfare of their dogs from a sense of duty and business expediency; he saw to the welfare of his as if they were his own children". Buck's other masters, Francois, Perrault, Charles, and Hal, saw dogs as a means to an end - to do a job, or for personal gain, and although Buck's life with the Judge was comfortable, Buck's relationship with his owners was more detached, "a working partnership...a sort of pompous guardianship...a stately and dignified friendship". Thornton cares for his dogs with all his heart, he sees them as individuals and is truly be concerned for their well-being, creating an environment for mutual respect and growth. He gets close to his dogs. For the first time, Buck experiences "love, genuine, passionate love" (Chapter 6).
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