Buck lived a pampered life at Judge Miller’s place.
Buck was not always a sled dog. Before he was kidnapped, he was a pampered house pet. Judge Miller was wealthy, living on a large farm in Santa Clara, California. It was warm and sunny, and Buck had extensive grounds to explore.
Buck lived at a big house in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley. Judge Miller's place, it was called. It stood back from the road, half-hidden among the trees, through which glimpses could be caught of the wide cool veranda that ran around its four sides.
The land was his domain, and Buck was in charge. There were other dogs there, but Buck was large and beautiful, and he was everyone’s favorite. He played with the judge’s kids and lived in the house. He was Judge Miller's special pet. The other dogs didn't count.
But Buck was neither house dog nor kennel dog. The whole realm was his. He plunged into the swimming tank or went hunting with the Judge's sons; he escorted Mollie and Alice, the Judge's daughters, on long twilight or early morning rambles; on wintry nights he lay at the Judge's feet before the roaring library fire …
Until Buck was stolen, he never suffered. He had everything he ever needed, and his will was his command. He never imagined that he was some day going to be a working dog. When Manuel took him and sold him to become an Alaska sled dog, Buck was nowhere near ready.
Although he was big and furry, and kept himself in reasonable shape, he had never been in the snow and didn’t know how to pull a sled. He had also never been mistreated, and certainly not beaten. Buck's life changed completely and he had to learn to survive with commands from dogs and people.