I think the author’s theme for the story is horror. Near the beginning of the story, it talks about how the man and the dog would carefully have to walk across some patches of snow. As the dog walked past one of the ice paths, some of the ice broke and he got his paws wet and it immediately froze. The dog then chose to start licking its paws to unthaw the ice that was forming at his feet, and legs. If the dog chose not to do so then the dog would have most likely frozen its legs like four icicles forming on a side of a house in the middle of winter. Near the middle of the story, the man has thoughts of the snow that is numbing his fingers and toes and that he may not make it back to the camp with the boys. Also near the end, he has thoughts about laying in the snow dying from it and picturing the boys the next day to find his frozen cold solid body.