My Favourite Stories #8

Why, 200 years after his death, is a stuffed Swiss St Bernard dog still famous around the world?

Heinz was a Swiss guard whose home was in Austria over the Bernese Alps. Heinz was granted some time of and he decided to make the journey home. However, when he reached the border post the guards told him of an impending storm. Heinz looked at the clear sky and decided he would risk it by travelling quickly.

He made his way up the trail, through trees that gradually thinned out until there were no trees just a snowy landscape. Unfortunately, the storm came in faster than everyone thought, and soon Heinz was making headway against strong wind and snow. As happens anywhere, when people get lost in any environment they tend move in circles, which is what Heinz was now doing. Finally, he became so exhausted that he just collapsed in the snow.

Back at the border post the guards knew Heinze was in trouble. The storm had descended faster than anyone thought. They notified the local monastery where mountain rescue dogs were housed, and the monk brought over Barry. He was a mature, trusted dog who had already saved 40 people.

After gaining the scent Barry headed off. With his keen sense of smell, he went up, up through the trees until there were no trees. He began to circle about where Heinze became lost. Then he began to dig, first uncovering a boot, then a uniform. Finally, he uncovered Heinz. These snow dogs are trained to lie on person and lick their face and share their body warmth. Heinz, in his frozen stupor opened his eyes a crack and only saw teeth and immediately thought it was a WOLF! He slowly reached down the side of his leg, where there was a knife. He pulled out and thrust it into Barry’s side. Barry yelped and fell down dead. Heinz suddenly realized what he had done.

The storm had abated, and he followed Barry’s tracks back to border post where he recounted story. He had killed the one who had come to save him. After the storm passed the Monks recovered Barry’s body. The body was stuffed and is still in a Swiss museum today as testament to those St Bernard’s who rescue many, people over the years.

If you compassion for the story of a dog who died trying to rescue others, then spare a thought for the one who died to save humanity. Jesus died for you! Unlike Barry, He has the power over death.


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