Authorities have said that a 44-year old Quebec man rescued after three months lost in the wilderness was lucky to be alive after he was found by a search party late last week.
Montreal resident Marco Lavoie set out on a planned two-month canoe trek in the Lake Matagami area with just the company of his pet German Shepherd. However, Lavoie’s trip soon encountered tragedy after an encounter with a wild bear.
According to local media reports, the police investigating the case believe that the bear surprised Mr Lavoie and his dog at a campsite, eating food and destroying vital survival equipment. Faced with an attack from a bear, Mr Lavoie could have easily been killed, but he was saved by the actions of his dog, who bravely barked loudly and chased the bear from the campsite.
Despite surviving the encounter, Mr Lavoie’s food and equipment hadn’t fared so well, and he was now hundreds of miles away from civilization with nothing to eat and no way to call for help. In the freezing conditions and with no food left to sustain him, Mr Lavoie had to make a tragic decision.
Having already had his pet dog save his life once, the German Shepherd now had to make the ultimate sacrifice for his master. As reported by multiple sources, Mr Lavoie was forced to use a heavy rock to kill his loyal pet, and he resorted to eating his dog’s flesh for sustenance until he was eventually found by rescuers.
After being spotted by a search helicopter, Mr Lavoie was reached by hikers who had to carry him through the wilderness. His condition at the time was so bad that he wasn’t able to speak and couldn’t even drink any fluid. Rescuers estimate that if he hadn’t been found ‘within 48 hours’, he would’ve likely starved to death. As it was, even with his dog providing a gruesome meal, Mr Lavoie had already lost half of his body weight.
“In that part of the country there’s little plant life to live off, so he would have been slowly, painfully dying when they found him. It’s an amazing feat that he was able to keep himself alive this long with almost no equipment,” said one survival expert.
“When you start to go hungry, you get mood swings, your mind breaks, and you cramp up all over your body. Eventually, your body will start cannibalizing itself, eating away at the fat in your organs and then in your muscles. It takes someone who won’t give up in the face of that.”
Mr Lavoie’s story has struck a chord with some animal lovers, with many questioning how anyone could resort to eating their own pet, even if it meant their own survival. “I can honestly say I would much rather than die than be forced to killing and eating my own dog,” wrote one many from Vancouver.
“I know he must have been half delirious with hunger, but I question if he couldn’t have found some alternative than his own pet.”