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Tag: stranded

Would you eat your dog to stay alive?

Marco Lavoie.jpg A hiker who was stranded in the Canadian wilderness for nearly three months after a bear destroyed his supplies had to eat his beloved dog to survive.  When Marco Lavoie was found by rescuers on Wednesday he was just days from death and had to be carried to a waiting helicopter.  The 44-year-old had been trapped with little food and survival equipment since July after a bear ransacked his campsite near the start of a planned three-month solo hike.Three days after his dog saved him from a bear in the Canadian wilderness, a stranded hiker ate his German shepherd to save himself from starvation.

Unable to find any food, Marco Lavoie, 44, killed his dog with a rock and ate him, according to the Canadian news agency QMI.

According to news reports, the first words the hiker uttered, after being found close to death by rescuers last week, were: “I want to get a new dog.”

Lavoie — after a bear destroyed his canoe and food supply — was stranded for three months in the wilderness about 500 miles outside Montreal. After the bear attack, he sprained his ankle and was unable to hunt or find any other source of food, according to reports.

Lavoie, an experienced hiker who often spent weeks in the wilderness by himself, was rescued by helicopter on Wednesday. He’d lost 90 pounds and was suffering from hypothermia. He was listed in critical condition in a hospital in Northern Quebec.

Survival expert Andre Francois Bourbeau told the Toronto Sun that Lavoie’s decision to eat his dog was a good one.

“He survived because he made good decisions. Eating his dog was one of them,” said Borbeau, the author of a survival guide. “You have to be desperate, but there’s no shame in (eating the dog),” said Bourbeau. “Hunger squeezes you so much that you would accept food that’s not normally possible,” said Bourbeau. “You can crave slugs and bugs.”

I’m sure there are many others who hold that view, and who’d point out that man – by virtue of that “dominion” he has over other animals, by virtue of being the superior, more developed being, by virtue of his position atop civilized society – has every right to chow down on his dog when trapped in the wilderness with no other options available.

But we don’t find much virtue at all in his actions.

We see more humanity in the dog, who loyally went along on his master’s silly wilderness trip, scared off a bear to protect him, and — despite any hunger pangs he might have been experiencing, despite his master’s hobbled condition – didn’t make a meal of Lavoie.

Flinging French fries in Fargo

There are things to do in Fargo, North Dakota.

There’s the Celebrity Walk of Fame at the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, where Garth Brooks, Neil Diamond, Debbie Reynolds, Jesse Ventura and others have left their signatures, handprints and footprints in cement.

There’s the Plains Art Museum, the Fargo Air Museum, the Red River Zoo, and just across the way from my motel, a big mall.

Yes — despite the stereotype of it as a place where boredom reigns, where temperatures lean toward the bitter extremes (and we won’t even go into woodchippers) — there are things to do in Fargo.

We’re just not doing any of them. Instead, we’re holed up in a Motel 6, where I’m flinging french fries into Ace’s mouth.

Why? Because it’s so damn cold.

Just as John Steinbeck, on his trip west with Charley, worried about getting across the northern states before winter set in, we’re beginning to fret as well; only we have ample reason — predictions of a October blizzard.

All night long, the wind rattled the windows of my motel room. The three-to-five inches of snow the local weatherman predicted hasn’t fallen — at least not here, not yet — but the warnings were enough to get me to book another night.

Just walking to the Burger King next door yesterday was bone chilling. Ace thought so, too. As eager as he was to get outside, he was even more eager — once experiencing it — to get back in.

Back in the room, for entertainment, I set aside half of my French fries and, in what’s become a habit during our travels when I get fast food, tossed portions to Ace. He gets the discolored ones, and the pointy ended ones. For some reason, I don’t like my fries to have pointy  ends. Though he was on the bed, four feet away, he missed but one fry, snagging each of the rest with a snort.

So far I haven’t seen much of Fargo, and that which I have has been through fast-flapping windshield wipers. The night I arrived, after checking in, I went off in search of downtown Fargo. On my only other trip here, three years ago, I didn’t explore at all. I did, during a stop for lunch, ask a waiter where downtown was, and he informed me there was no downtown. Maybe he was new here, or it was his way of saying Fargo’s downtown didn’t meet with his standards. Maybe he was having fun with tourists.

But I can report there is a downtown, and that the road to it, at least from my motel, is lined with pawn shops. Once there, I couldn’t see much, because it was so dark and rainy, but I sensed tall buildings.

It has remained grey since then. That alone normally wouldn’t keep me inside, but the wind is downright cruel, and the rain is a stinging one and the one time I did go out in the car — to buy dog food — my car door, powered by the wind, attacked me both when I got out and when I got back in.

Even the wildlife thinks it’s too cold. Tonight, when I went downstairs for ice, I saw a rabbit huddled between a trash can and the wall by the motel’s side door, seeking shelter from the wind and rain.

I was going to offer to share my room with him — invite him up for a discolored French fry, maybe suggest he consider relocating to warmer climes – but he ran off when I approached the door.

Roadside Encounters: Bear

Name: Bear

Breed: Lab-shepherd mix

Age: Unknown

Encountered: An exit ramp off eastbound I-40 near Clines Corners, N.M.

Headed: Home to Bristol, Virginia

From: Unknown

Travel habits: Easygoing, but his owners — a husband, wife and son — ran into car trouble and spent all $400 they had on fixing the radiator. So they hand-wrote a sign about their misfortune and sat on the exit ramp with Bear, seeking donations. Seeing them stranded, I stopped, met Bear, and asked if they needed help. “We’re flat broke,” the husband said. I gave them $20, but — that only being half a tank these days — they didn’t seem too happy about it. Then I asked if I could take a picture of their dog. “You’ll have to ask my wife,” the husband said. The wife, sitting on the ground behind the trunk of the car, said, “I don’t allow pictures of anything.” She said it quite gruffly. I got back in my car and moved on, stopping to take this photo from far away.

(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” click here.)

“Man, we can’t leave them dogs to die”

After a long day repairing damage from Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Robert “Bob” Emery and his work crew returned to their Houston motel ready to turn in.

But when Emery, 54, heard that three dogs were stranded in the emergency lane of the East Freeway, just in front of the motel, he dashed to the scene. Seconds later he was struck by a motorcycle and killed.

“Man, we can’t leave them dogs to die,” Emery’s co-workers recalled him saying late Saturday night.

Emery, according to the Houston Chronicle, was one of thousands of workers who descended on the Houston area after Ike.

“We came here on a good mission, but Bob died on an even better mission,” said Nick Downs, 42, among those Emery came from Florida with to help after the storm.

The 50-year-old motorcycle rider from Pasadena was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital with a possible broken arm, Houston police said.

The three dogs, found wearing collars and tags, were rescued by police and turned over to the city’s Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care.

“He’d bend over backwards and jump through a hoop for anyone,” said Billy Siegel, 24, a friend of Emery’s who said he shouted at him as the motorcycle approached. “He was trying to do a good deed, not anything drunk or stupid. He risked his life, and, of course, it cost him his life.”

Meera Nandlal, a spokeswoman for Houston’s SPCA, said thoughts and prayers go out to Emery’s friends and family. “Obviously, the guy had a huge heart, and went out there to help these animals, who couldn’t help themselves.”