Barry was a mountain rescue dog that worked for the Great St. Bernard Hospice in Switzerland. He is one of my heroes because in his lifetime he saved over 40 people with his skills. He was a male Kuherhund which is the breed the eventually formed the modern breed we know today as St. Bernards, although he was much smaller than a St. Bernard would be. Barry was born in 1800 and worked most of his life saving lives until he was retired to live out years under the care of a kindly monk.
In the Pennine Alps they needed to have rescue teams ready to go for aide in blizzards and avalanches. These rescue teams were made up of dogs specially trained to search out people who were lost and warm them up and bark to alert their human handlers of their position. These dogs were originally brought to the Monastery around 1660 and were used mainly as watchdogs. The rescue dogs were bred up from these dogs so that by 1800 they were a breed that was well adapted to the area and the terrain so as to be excellent rescue dogs.
Barry was one of these dogs and was one of the best rescue dogs because of his high record of saved lives. Also there is a story that tells of Barry finding a lost child and warming him up by licking his face and hands. Barry then carried the boy on his back all the way down the mountain to the Hospice. This was something that the dogs were not trained to do and shows the courage that Barry had to rescue the child all by himself.
Barry did his job, and did it well for 12 years before he was finally retired. He passed away at the age of 14 and his body was given to the Natural History Museum of Bern. His skin was preserved by a taxidermist and the rest of his body was buried. The barrel was added later because of the myth. There is also a monument to Barry opposite the entrance to the Cimetiere des Chiens pet cemetery in Paris. Also at the monastery after Barry's death there was always a dog named Barry in recognition of his accomplishments until 2004 when the remaining dogs were given to The Foundation Barry du Grand Saint Bernard to take over the breeding of the dogs. There are also numerous books, poems and movies based on the story of Barry.
Barry der Manschenretter was easily one of the bravest dogs in history and undoubtedly deserves a hero status. His life was dedicated to saving human lives. The St. Bernard Dog Museum was opened in Martigny, Switzerland in 2009 and do tours with The Foundation Barry du Great Saint Bernard. The tours involves going with the dogs up the Pass where Barry rescued so many people although it happens in the summertime. And so Barry's legacy lives on even though rescues are now done by helicopters in the Pass.
Page created on 1/15/2012 12:00:00 AM
Last edited 4/20/2019 7:41:44 PM