Gary Paulsen had written some books and been gaining success as a writer. One of his books caused a controversy with someone claiming it was about them. The argument led to a lawsuit which left Gary disillusioned and not wanting to write for awhile. Gary withdrew from writing and worked as a mailman in the backwoods of Alaska. He was given a set of sled dogs by a friend. He initially had no idea how to work them and had to learn. he more that he learned about them and their behaviors the more intrigued he became.
Ths is based on memory, I don't have the book before me.