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Having frozen his feet that past December, John walks with a slight limp. He and Buck convalesce together, both growing stronger in the beautiful, warm weather. Buck's muscles swell, and flesh returns to cover his bones. He makes friends with John Thornton's other dogs, Skeet and Nig, as they await the raft that will carry them to Dawson. Skeet is motherly and nurses Buck's wounds during his convalescence. Nig is also quite friendly. The dogs manifest no jealousy towards Buck. He is welcomed into their frolicking games. The kindness of John Thornton arises from them as well.
Meanwhile, Buck has never felt this way before. He is full of passionate love for John Thornton, who not only saved him, but is also the ideal master. His dogs are his children. John talks to them for long periods of time. He grasps Buck's head and rests his own upon it. It is almost as if he understand what Buck says to him. But Buck does not seek these tokens of affection. He is content to adore from a distance. At times he does not want to let John out of his sight, fearing that he will lose him as he has lost other masters.