What does Storm do when the stove is being loaded and why in Woodsong?By Gary Paulsen

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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While the stove was being loaded on the sled, Storm, alone among all the dogs, sat and watched intently, "his face a study in interest".  When the narrator harnessed the dogs to the heavily laden sled, the other dogs, realizing only that they were about to head home, excitedly started "slamming against the tugs, trying to get the sled to move", but Storm sat and stared at the stove.  After a time, he bared his teeth and growled at the stove before putting his weight into the harness and pulling.  Every time the team stopped at the tops of inclines to let the dogs get their breath, Storm turned and growled again at the stove.  It was as if he understood that it was the enormous implement attached to the sled that was making the dogs' job so difficult.  The way the narrator tells the story, it appears that Storm looked at the stove as "the enemy...the weight on the sled".

The narrator recounts a number of other incidents where Storm demonstrates an intelligence far beyond what might be expected of an ordinary dog. The dog had a sense of humor, playing "gentle jokes" upon his gullible master.  Storm liked to hide things from the narrator, showing no expression while his hapless victim searched frantically for whatever object had been concealed.  When the object was recovered, the narrator insists that the dog would smile.

During their long runs, the narrator describes how Storm would get bored and look for ways to amuse himself.  He tells how on a run one day, Storm jumped up and grabbed a short limb off a tree and carried it in his mouth.  Storm began to use the stick as a means of communication between him and the narrator, carrying it when all was well, and refusing to pick it up when the team needed rest or there was some other problem.  When the time came for Storm to die, he made sure that he passed away with the stick in his mouth, to reassure his master that everything was all right (Chapter 7).

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