In the book, Paulsen tears his kneecap before his sled shoots off the edge of a frozen waterfall. To make matters worse, Paulsen then drops twenty feet and lands on his injured knee on a frozen pond, just beneath the waterfall.
After a brief loss of consciousness, Paulsen begins to realize his grave danger. He is bleeding profusely and is unable to get to his feet. By his calculations, he is at least twenty miles from home and about eight or nine miles from the closest human dwelling. Paulsen is frightened and worries that he will die out in the cold. As he contemplates his fate, he notices Obeah, one of his dogs, looking down at him from the top of the waterfall.
Usually, sled dogs do not go back for their masters or mushers, but Obeah drags the other dogs down an embankment until they reach Paulsen. The dogs bring Paulsen's sled to him, while another dog, Duberry, begins to lick and clean the wounds on Paulsen's leg. Because of his dogs, our protagonist is able to muster up the last of his energy to get himself onto the sled. Once on the sled, he ties his leg down, and the dogs proceed to pull him home.
When Paulsen gets injured, the dogs do not abandon him; instead, they come to his rescue, offer him comfort, and patiently lead him to safety.