The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

November 15, 2013

INTERNATIONAL: The lost man who ate his dog

Friday, November 15, 2013 — Canadian outdoorsman Marco Lavoie spent three months stranded in the wilderness of the Nottaway River in Western Quebec. His plight began when a bear attacked and wrecked his boat, ravaging his supplies. Lavoie's pet German shepherd apparently helped drive off the bear. Eventually Lavoie, starving and dehydrated, struck his dog on the head with a rock and ate him.

Lavoie's actions earned him a torrent of criticism when he was finally found, 90 pounds thinner and dogless, earlier this month. While survival experts supported his decision, Lavoie told authorities immediately after the rescue that he wanted another dog, and this wish provoked particular ire. On the Huffington Post, for example, one commenter wrote "I would rather eat my own limbs than my dogs."

I wrote a master's thesis on dog-in-the-wilderness stories, so the Lavoie tale, and the outraged public reaction, piqued my interest. Of the "Man and Dog vs. the Wild" genre, popular at the turn of the 20th century, we mostly remember the works of Jack London, a writer so loved that a new biography merits a long review in the New Yorker. Parents may be familiar with the real-life tale of Balto the sled dog, who brought diphtheria medicine to snowbound Nome, Alaska, in 1925 and has been memorialized in children's books, animated movies and a statue in Central Park.

But many of the "Man and Dog" stories from the 1900s to 1930s now reside on the lower layers of the cultural landfill. Ever heard of Arthur Bartlett's "Spunk: Leader of the Dog Team" (1926), Ernest Harold Baynes' "Polaris: The Story of an Eskimo Dog" (1924), Esther Birdsall Darling's "Baldy of Nome" (1916)? Probably not. Even John Muir's story "Stickeen," about a dog who traversed a dangerous Alaskan glacier at the explorer's side, is now relatively unfamiliar.

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Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon Fake news or sign of some more trouble?

    RALEIGH – Of the three situations I can recall where agencies receiving large sums of taxpayer dollars wouldn’t divulge employees’ salaries, two of them ended badly. The third – involving a group of charter schools in Southeastern North Carolina – is playing out right now.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    WASHINGTON - The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

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