illustrated portrait of American author Jack London with mountains in the background

Jack London

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What expectations do Francois and Perrault have for their dogs?

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Francois and Perrault expect their dogs to obey them implicitly. As "fair men, calm and impartial in administering justice," Francois and Perrault expect their dogs to give them their money's worth in energy, courage, and determination.

Francois frequently uses the whip to demand "instant obedience." Neither man harbors sentimental feelings about the dogs. Francois and Perrault expect their animals to know their place and to abide by strict rules. For example, Buck tries to enter Perrault and Francois' tent when he has trouble sleeping one night. Upon entry, Buck is immediately "bombarded with curses and cooking utensils." Without recourse, Buck has to go back out into the cold. It is Billee, a friendly Husky, who saves Buck. Billee shows Buck how to burrow down into the snow so that he can keep warm and protect himself from the elements.

Meanwhile, Perrault, as a courier for the Canadian government, is anxious to secure only the fastest dogs. He is a highly ambitious man and is focused on protecting only his material interests. When a group of wild, starving huskies fall upon the camp and attack the sled dogs, Perrault shows little sympathy for the grievous wounds his dogs suffer. He is focused only upon the four hundred miles the team has yet to travel. Without delay, he mercilessly harnesses the dogs for the remaining journey, despite their injuries. Perrault drives the dogs on, even though the temperature registers fifty below zero.

Perrault and Francois' ruthless behavior leads to one dog losing her wits. Dolly, a female Husky, announces her madness with a "long, heartbreaking wolf howl that sent every dog bristling with fear...." Because both men can tolerate no delays in the journey, Francois cuts Dolly down with an ax. To Francois and Perrault, the dogs are expendable resources. They expect unquestioning loyalty and unwavering purpose from their dogs and will do whatever is needed to have their expectations met.

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In Jack London's novel, "Call of The Wild," we meet Buck.  Buck has been stolen from his peaceful and relaxing life at Judge Miller's home.  He has been sold into a hard life of labor and stressful existence.  After being "broken" by the man with the club Buck is purchased by Francois and Perrault.  These men run a sled with supplies and mail.  The dogs they buy to pull the sled must be survivors and they must be strong. 

Francois and Perrault expect their dogs to work together as one.  They expect the more experienced dogs to train the new dogs and they expect the dogs to work to the best of their abilities to move from point A to point B with little or no trouble.  This does not really happen until after Buck kills Spitz and Buck takes over the team.

"They are just masters who treat the dogs fairly, although they get the maximum amount of work out of their dogs with the minimum amount of food."

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