call of the wild
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As sad as it is, the most important thing about Dave is his death. When Dave gets sick and insists on staying with the sled, we really get to see that pulling the sled can become a way of life for a dog. Dave doesn’t pull because he’ll get beaten otherwise; he pulls because being a sled dog has come to define his entire existence. It is interesting that Buck never gets to this point; he adapts to the wilderness, and he learns how to pull the sled, but he never lets his role in life become solely that of a sled dog.