Part 1, Chapters 7-8 Summary
Over the years, Paulsen has owned many dogs, and each one has taught him much. He discovered something about temper in animals through Fred, a dog who became "enormously fat." In an attempt to help the canine lose weight, the author started him on an extreme diet and exercise program. When the requirements became too severe, Fred, a normally placid dog, pointedly bit his perceived tormentor once, with clear purpose. Paulsen got the message loud and clear, adjusted the regimen, and Fred regained his sunny disposition.
Paulsen learned the rudiments of sled-dog running primarily through trial and error, and consequently made many foolish blunders along the way. On one occasion, he stubbornly ignored his team leader Cookie's obvious desire to go in a certain direction, forcing her instead to proceed along his own chosen path. This ultimately resulted in an unavoidable tumble into a steep gully. Cookie, obviously frustrated with Paulsen's refusal to let her follow her instincts, allowed the fall to happen, and afterwards, the dogs went on strike as a unit, refusing to pull. Ignoring their callow master, they lay down to sleep for eighteen hours, rising to continue on with glee only after they felt that he had learned his lesson.
The dog that taught Paulsen the most was a mighty creature named Storm. Storm was one of the outdoorsman's first dogs. Paulsen estimates that they logged more than twelve thousand miles together and the two came to know each other perhaps better than family. Storm was exceptionally clever, and relished pulling pranks on fellow canines and humans alike.
Storm had a habit of carrying short sticks in his mouth while running; he would choose a new one each day and present it to Paulsen periodically, for approval. Paulsen soon realized that the dog was using the stick as a means of communication, to tell him that "everything was all right." When Storm grew old, he...
(The entire section is 706 words.)