In John Thornton's camp, Buck received tender care from both John and John's dog Skeet, an Irish setter and immediate acceptance from Nig, a mixed breed. He slowly regained his health and strength and enjoyed not having to work. For the first in a long time, he was living a life of fun and games and was surrounded by love. John was the type of master who not all cared for his dogs but treated them almost as if they were his children. In turn, Buck returned this kindness with a deeply felt love and an attitude of protectiveness.
Even though Buck was extremely devoted to John and stayed with him constantly, he was also lured by the Wild and felt the urge to leave the camp. Nevertheless, he stayed with John and displayed his love for him in many different ways. At one time when John fell into the rapids, Buck jumped in after him and pulled him to safety. On another occasion, he won a bet for him by accomplishing a phenomenal fete of pulling a thousand pound sled. Even when John was in a bar brawl, Buck was right there and fought with him side by side.
When John's friends returned to join up with John again, Buck tolerated them because he realized that they also loved Thornton.
The relationship that Buck develops with John and the love he feels for him is unique and deeply felt by both. It is a love that is freely given without any strings attached to it. John is the ideal master and Buck and John remain together because they desire to do so and not because they have to do so. Buck not only respects John but he also feels a strong adoration for him.
Buck sees himself in John and therefore understands him.