Why do they keep the dog even though he wasn't a good hunter?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hello! In The Sign Of The Beaver, Matt tells us that he thinks Attean's old dog is the sorriest-looking hound he has ever seen. When Matt first meets the dog, it lets out a mean growl at him. It is obvious that the dog is wary of Matt. When Matt asks Attean what the dog's name is, Attean just shrugs, and answers that his dog has no name. Matt is incredulous and wonders how Attean can get the dog to come to him when he needs it to. Attean proudly tells Matt that the dog knows who its master is and that it will come when called. He goes on to tell Matt that the dog is no good at hunting, and that it is piz wat, good-for-nothing. Yet there is no mistaking the pride in Attean's voice when he tells Matt that his dog will fight anything, whether it be a bear, a moose, or even a porcupine. In fact, Attean's dog still has some porcupine quills embedded in his body from a recent fight with a porcupine.

Later, Attean gifts Matt with his dog before he and his people move further west to find new hunting grounds. Matt finds that the dog now trusts him after he helped free it from a trap in the woods. Attean tells Matt that a dog always remembers a kindness or a good deed. The dog's fierce loyalty, fearless protection, and faithful companionship cements his place in the hearts of both boys. Their fondness for him leads them to keep him with them despite the fact that he is not a good hunter.

Thanks for the question.