Saturday Stories – Barry the St Bernard

This week’s true Saturday dog story is about a St Bernard called Barry from the early 19th century.

Often described as perhaps the most famous of St Bernards, Barry worked as a mountain rescue dog in Switzerland for the Great St Bernard Hospice. Whilst St Bernards were initially introduced to guard at a monastery in the area, their role soon evolved into search and rescue for travellers who had become lost or stranded.

Barry was especially good at this role, and is credited with saving more than forty lives during his lifetime – earning him the nickname ‘Menschenretter’ which translates to ‘people rescuer’ from German. His most famous rescue was that of a young boy found asleep in a cavern of ice. Barry initially warmed the boy’s body up through repeated licking, before maneuvering him onto his back and carrying him back to the monastery for assistance.

When Barry found someone in need, his first thought would be to try and dig them out (if they were stuck), and keep them warm. If this were not possible however, he would instead rush back to the monastery and signal the monks for assistance.

After twelve years of service Barry was allowed to retire to Bern in Switzerland. He died peaceful at the age of fourteen. Such was his impact that to this day there is always a St Bernard at the monastery named Barry in his honour – a fitting legacy to a heroic dog!

At Bowerland Holiday Cottages and Devon Dogs we love hearing stories such as this. We provide specialist training workshops to help dogs with a variety of issues. Why not come along to one of our workshops where we work on improving your dog’s scent-tracking, and help your dog be like Barry!

Read more Saturday Stories HERE.

Chris Green

About the Author: Chris Green works in the office at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs, using his technical expertise to assist wherever needed. In his spare time he likes playing guitar and bass, and hiking around Dartmoor.

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