Man apparently ate his dog to stay alive in Quebec woods
Marco Lavoie. (QMI Agency, handout)
MONTREAL — Outdoorsman Marco Lavoie, rescued Wednesday after three months in the deep woods near James Bay, made the heartbreaking decision to kill and eat his beloved German shepherd to stay alive.
A source close to the amazing story told QMI Agency that Lavoie, 44, sacrificed his dog when he became stranded at the Nottaway River, roughly 800 km northwest of Montreal.
A bear had eaten Lavoie's food and destroyed his boat in mid-July, leaving him alone with the dog.
A few days after the bear attack, the person who spoke to QMI on condition of anonymity said Lavoie used a rock to kill his dog before eating the pet.
By the time provincial police airlifted him out three months later, Lavoie was barely able to speak or eat. He suffered hypothermia and dehydration and had lost about 90 pounds.
Survival expert Andre Francois Bourbeau said Lavoie did what he could to live.
"He survived because he made good decisions. Eating his dog was one of them," said Bourbeau, author of a survival guide.
Bourbeau has researched hundreds of similar stories, some of which include cannibalism.
"You have to be desperate, but there's no shame in (eating the dog)," said Bourbeau. "He had to use reason."
The survival expert says that after 30 days in the wilderness with no food, Lavoie's body would have gone into shock from starvation.
"Hunger squeezes you so much that you would accept food that's not normally possible," said Bourbeau. "You can crave slugs and bugs."
Lavoie is an experienced hiker who often spent weeks in the wilderness by himself. But the Nottaway River is considered too dangerous even for the hardiest outdoorsmen.
Andre Diamond, a Waswanipi Cree who lives on an island at the mouth of the river, said he warned Lavoie to stay away.
"He said it didn't scare him, but it's not a river to travel alone," said Diamond. "Other adventurers have gone there over 20, 30 years and never came back."
Sydney Ottereyes, a local Cree who was part of the Lavoie search party, said the river is downright dangerous.
"It's a complicated river with lots of rocks," said Ottereyes. "In some places, there's plenty of water while elsewhere there's none. The wind comes and there can be up to three currents in the same place."
Lavoie is currently hospitalized in "very serious" condition.