Firstly St Bernards are Alpine farm, herding and guard dogs. It’s believed they were introduced to the region during Roman times. Over the centuries they been trained and used to rescue those buried under snow drifts or avalanches for instance. Enter Barry..

Barry’s preserved body as currently on display at the Natural History Museum, Bern

The Back Story of Barry

In the 11th century, monks first founded a hospice as a refuge for travellers while attempting the dangerous pass between Switzerland and Savoy, on the mountain of Great St Bernard. Firstly this began with Saint Bernard of Menthon who established the community under the patronage of Saint Nicholas of Myra, patron saint of travellers. Large mountain dogs, of mixed breeds, were kept at the hospice since the mid-17th century to guard and protect those staying there.

New Arrivals at the Barry Foundation
in Switzerland

The dogs never received any special training from the monks. In other words, they learnt from each other with pups learning from their sires.
The direct ancestors of the St Bernards breed were large farm dogs found widely across the area. In the space of a few generations, these dogs became the St Bernard that exists today.

Barry – The Rescuers of Rescuers

Today the tunnel and modern technology have made rescue operations at the Pass mainly unnecessary. The dogs were put up for sale in 2004 because of the high cost of maintenance and were promptly bought by foundations created for the purpose of caring for them.

In addition our boy, Barry der Menschenretter (Barry the People Rescuer) has been described as the most famous St. Bernard, saving more than 40 lives during his work in the Pass. Unsurprisingly, we dedicated one of our first Franks Hero collector cards to him and this heroic legacy.

“Barry der Menschenretter (Barry the People Rescuer) has been described as the most famous St. Bernard, saving more than 40 lives during his work in the Pass.”

Barry’s final days!

After that Barry lived at the Hospice from 1800 until 1812. His legendary feats earned him world fame, greatly contributing to the St. Bernard’s good reputation. Therefore In 1812, when Barry was old and tired, the hospice’s prior sent him to Bern, where he was well taken care of up until his death in 1814. In 1815 and his stuffed body was put on display at the Natural History museum in Bern. There is also a statue of him in Cimetière des Chiens near Paris and each year one dog in this hospice is named Barry in his honour. Similarly, books and monuments just aren’t enough for some heroes. Lastly Disney also made a film about his adventures called Barry the Great Mountain Dog. In other words that’s when you know you’ve made it.
Want to hear more Heroes Tails check out Franks Heroes!

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