Saint Bernard Dog: The Great Rescuer Barry}

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  • Marc Ching

Submitted by: Ashish Jain

Dogs are great rescuers. We all know that, but some of them are better at the job than others. What could be nobler than saving lives. Barry, who lived and made history between 1800 and 1814, was one of the greatest rescue dogs the world has ever seen. Barry was a Saint Bernard dog who earned worldwide fame for the brave rescue operations he carried out during his lifetime. His painting by Salvatore Rosa still hangs in a hospice in the Alps of Switzerland.

Saint Benard dogs have such a keen sense of smell that they can smell out people burried deep in the snow. Barry, like other Saint Bernard dogs, was trained by the monks to rescue lost travelers in the Alps. The Bernards, on finding a man to be recued, lie on top of the person and start licking his face to wake him up. Simultaneously they bark out aloud calling the monks for assistance, hearing which the monks would come with a stretcher and warm blankets to keep the person warm. The fellow is then taken to the monastry and is served warm tea and food.

Barry was an expert rescue dog well versed with the rescue drill and amongst his famous rescue adventures there is this famous story about a young boy who was found stranded on an icy ledge, all covered with thick snow under an ongoing, heavy snowfall. It was not possible for any man to climb that icy ledge, but Barry braving all adversity crawled inch by inch to the injured boy. As the drill has it, Barry started licking the boy’s face but the snowfall was too heavy and the ledge too difficult to climb for any monk to reach the boy. So, there was no help coming. The boy, however, woke up due to Barry’s warm licks and wrapped his arms around Barry’s strong neck. The dog pulled him carefully and bravely from the ledge and brought him to safety.

It is just one of the many gallant rescue stories of this great rescuer Saint Bernard. He lived from 1800 to 1814 and saved more than 40 lives in his lifetime.

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