Why did Gary Paulsen eat butter instead of meat patties in Woodsong?

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Paulsen fed one of his dogs the meat patties because she would not eat anything else.

Woodsong depicts Gary Paulsen’s attempt to run the Iditarod, a dog sled race in Alaska.  As a beginner, he was very inexperienced.  He was not completely sure how to treat the dogs.  As a result, he played it by ear.

One of his dogs stopped eating the “pork, lamb, beef, liver and dry dog food.”

But she would eat the meat patties I had sent for myself, which had cheese and raisins and fat mixed in.  So I gave her all my own food and consequently didn’t have any food at the checkpoints (Day 9, p. 116)

Some of the other mushers gave him food, and he ate sticks of butter that were given to him as a promotion at the checkpoints.  Eventually he reached a spot where some schoolchildren had made chili.

Paulsen’s lack of experience nearly got his dogs and himself killed at several points along the way.  Failing to bring the proper food is an example of this.  Because he did not have the proper food for his dogs, he did not have the proper food for himself.

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