Soon the holidays in the snow, the daze of the peaks, the excitement of skiing, a final number for the pleasure… Yes, but here, in a bend, we cross the beacons, the fog rises, the night falls, we are lost! And in our deception – at least that of the author of these rules – we can already hear running, stashed away with the chain, a good Saint Bernard, worthy heir of Barry, the Swiss hero of mountain rescue.

A stylish guy, this Barry. On the Great St. Bernard Pass, where the monks of the Hospice, founded in the eleventh century by Bernard de Menthon, sent their watchdogs to save lost travelers, he worked for twelve years. Probably he attended in May 1800 the passage of General Bonaparte's army, in which his four-legged friends rescued a group of soldiers. "Zeal [que Barry] Unfolding was extraordinary, says the historian Marie-Hélène Baylac in her History of famous animals (Perrin). If he felt a man in danger, he immediately ran to his aid. If he could do nothing, he returned to the monastery and asked for help by his barking and his attitude. "

Barry & # 39; s statue on the animal cemetery of Asnières-sur-Seine.

© Fred de Noyelle / GODONG / Leemage / Imageforum

Since 1900 Barry has his statue at the animal park of Asnières-sur-Seine in Île-de-France. She writes this epitaph: "He saved the lives of 40 people / he was murdered by the 41st The tribute is as poignant as extravagant First the dog was not shot by a Napoleon soldier who, caught in a storm, ordered him would have thought for a wolf when he came to save him, he died at high age in Berne in 1814, Marie-Hélène Baylac recalls, secondly, Laurent Testot, author ofHomo Canis, a history of dogs and humanity (Payot), push the myth into the ravine: Barry was not a Saint Bernard, but a Spaniel of the Alps. The journalist gives the floor to the person in question: "I do not have much in common with the idea that you have of St. Bernard: my fur [d’origine] is short, far away from the membrane of today's giant. […] My figure is pretty average, in the 40 kilos, when that of the Saint Bernard of your dreams is enormous […]. My head is that of a pointer, proportional to my body, while it is molossoid and enormous in the current standard. And I look down on a dejected, wet dog … "Just as I thought, the barrel of brandy -" a myth born among British tourists of the nineteenth century, popularized by the painter Edwin Landseer in a dramatic photograph, "continues Laurent Testot. As for the name, Barry, it comes from "bar" (bear, in German) or an English distortion of the word "barrel" (the famous barrel).

Stored by a Saint Bernard (Illustration of the Petit Journal & # 39; of Sunday October 12, 1913).

© Lee / Leemage / Imageforum


Nevertheless, the Saint-Bernard is good, she! On the basis of different crosses the breed has evolved "thanks to the patient work of breeding that is practiced by the canons of the hospice", says Marie-Hélène Baylac. The latter, "in the 1830s, sent a huge Saint Bernard to the European fundraising trip" who, with his affectionate gaze, "is fortunate enough to satisfy the English," Laurent Testot says. The good cooking will do much for the fame of the breed, approved in 1887 and perpetuated by the Barry Foundation in Martigny. For the Swiss, the symbol is so lively that the original Barry, filled and exhibited at the Natural History Museum in Bern since 1815, got a refurbishment in 1923, to [le] Make-up in Saint-Bernard authentic racing, "says Laurent Testot, so all traces of the spaniel have been erased, the legend has been installed.When we think, anyway, where are we going to nest fake news