Barry was one of the greatest rescue dogs the world has ever seen

As the drill has it, Barry started licking the boy’s face to revive him

Barry’s original name was ‘Bari’ (the Bear)

Barry

Barry (1800–1814) was a famous St Bernard that worked as a mountain rescue dog. He lived at the monastery at the Great St Bernard Pass near the Swiss–Italian border and was responsible for saving over 40 lives.

Barry was one of the greatest rescue dogs the world has ever seen, he was an expert rescue dog well versed with the rescue drill derived by the monks at the monastery. The existence of such dogs have been documented in paintings and drawings dating back to 1695, and in written documents at the hospice since 1707.

Amongst his famous rescue adventures there is the 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 to revive him. The boy woke up due to Barry’s warm licks. However no monk was able to reach the narrow ledge, so there was no further help coming. The boy wrapped his arms around Barry’s strong neck and Barry pulled him carefully from the ledge and brought him to safety.

Barry’s original name was ‘Bari’ (the Bear) in the Swiss German tradition was the name given a large dark coloured dog. In the late 1800s his name was changed to the English sounding “Barry” (Some say it was a part of a plan to encourage English tourism).

The dogs used by the monks at the St Bernard Pass were very different in shape and colour from the present St Bernard dog. Barry died of old age when he was 14 years old. His body is preserved and on display at the Natural History Museum in Berne, Switzerland.


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