Did the St. Bernard Rescue Dogs Really Carry Casks of Brandy?
No. Although you probably have seen pictures of St. Bernard dogs with small brandy casks hanging from collars around their necks, the dogs never really carried casks on their rescue missions.
St. Bernard’s are often portrayed wearing small barrels of brandy around their necks, through which avalanche victims supposedly drank brandy to stay warm while awaiting rescue, it’s medically unsound.
The monks of the St. Bernard Hospice deny that any St. Bernard has ever carried casks or small barrels around their necks. Some of the early dogs did carry rescue provisions but on their backs. And it was fresh milk!
This large, intelligent dog became famous for rescuing lost travelers in the snowy Alps of Switzerland. With its keen sense of smell, the St. Bernard could find persons who were buried under the snow.
Today, helicopter rescue teams have largely replaced the St. Bernard.