Karana is unable to leave her house for five days because of her leg, but is finally forced to leave when she runs out of water. She has to crawl to the spring, dragging her weapons behind her. On the way, the wild dogs begin to follow her. She is able to scare them away with her bow, and eventually reaches the spring, but by the time she gets there the dogs have surrounded her. Instead of trying to make it home, Karana crawls into a cave near the spring, where she stays for six days, only leaving to get more water, until her leg is healed and she can walk.
Karana decides to make the cave into a second home where she can stay if she is again injured or sick. She knows her ancestors used the cave because it is filled with drawing, but she does not know what for. Karana makes shelves, baskets and a bed in the cave, just as she did in her house on the headland.
After she has finished her new house in the cave, Karana returns to the beach, where she finds the corpse of the old sea elephant. From his teeth she makes four new spearheads. She makes two new spears from these and is finally ready to attack the wild dogs.
The wild dogs on the island grew bolder after the battle with the Aleuts for two reasons. The first is that village dogs whose masters were killed joined the pack. The second is that a large, gray dog with yellow eyes had become the pack's leader. This dog is bigger than the rest, and a different color (most dogs on the island of the blue dolphins have brown eyes and fur). Karana believes that the gray dog is an Aleut dog left on the island after the battle.
In her attack against the dogs, Karana first builds a fire outside the dogs' cave, then pushes it inside to fill the cave with smoke. The dogs run out a few at a time, but Karana saves her arrows for the leader of the pack. When he comes, Karana hits him in the chest with an arrow. She turns and kills two other dogs with her remaining arrows. When she turns back, the gray dog is gone. Karana searches for him, but only finds half of an arrow, gnawed through.
It rains for the next two days. On the third day Karana finds the gray dog, barely alive. She prepares to shoot him but find she cannot; instead she carries him back to her house, where she removes the arrow in cleans his wound. She leaves him with some water and goes to gather food. When she returns, the dog is still alive and has drunk the water. Karana cleans his wound again and gives him some food. That night she sleeps on the rock, fearing that the dog might attack her.