Not long into his trip, a bear destroyed his camp, his emergency equipment, ate his food stores and trashed his canoe needed for the return trip home. His faithful German Sheppard chased off the bear, preventing Lavoie from being attacked.
Several days after the bear attack, driven by hunger and an uncertain future, Lavoie struck his dog on the head with a rock, killing it and then eating it.
When Lavoie failed to return on his October 21 due date, his family alerted the authorities who conducted a search for him for eight days in deteriorating weather conditions. A skeletal Lavoie was spotted by a helicopter crew and rescued. Lavoie was in terrible shape. He had lost half his body weight, was suffering severe dehydration and hypothermia. He was barely able to speak and details of his horrific ordeal are slowly emerging.
Lavoie is receiving intense and harsh criticism online for killing and eating his dog – read any of the comments sections of the news reports for a sample of the online vitriol. But should we really be so quick and harsh to judge?
As I sit quite comfortably in my study, I say there’s no way I’d ever be able to kill and eat my dog. But would I? At the peak of starvation and desperation, would I be able to bring a rock above her trusting head and crush her skull? It is a brutally horrific way for any creature to die. And then to eat her? I’m not sure I have that ultimate survival drive. But I haven’t been in that situation, so I don’t know.
I would like to know more details of his circumstance. Did he have an EPRB and was it destroyed by the bear? If not, that was either a foolish rookie or arrogant veteran error. Why were his supplies not out of reach of the bear? I may come from the Land Downunder but even I know about bear proofing your supplies.
It’s also interesting that despite eating his dog in the early days of his predicament, Lavoie continued to survive for many more weeks. I don’t think eating the dog was the difference between his life and death. Perhaps his dog would have been helpful sourcing game and providing body heat to ward of hypothermia. I doubt we’ll ever know the full details and we’ll certainly never know the answers to the what ifs, but I’m certainly glad snakes are the only critter on my trails I ever have to worry about. And for that reason, I leave my dog at home.
Last modified: November 26, 2016