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From the text, we can infer that the dogs were a bit like the walking dead. They were skeletal exhausted, and in grave condition.
They were not half living, or quarter living. They were simply so many bags of bones in which sparks of life fluttered faintly. When a halt was made, they dropped down in the traces like dead dogs, and thespark dimmed and paled and seemed to go out.
Call of the Wild