With the winter season in full affect across most of America, people are beginning to participate in winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, hiking, etc to pass the time. For many, these activities bring joy to their lives during a not such enjoyable time. However, with these activities comes the risk for injury or death as a result of the unpredictable winter weather. Before the modern safety ski patrol, dogs played an important role in search and rescue missions.
Since the early 18th century, monks living in the snowy, dangerous St. Bernard Pass -a route through the Alps between Switzerland and Italy - used canines to help them on their rescue missions after bad snowstorms.
These well-trained canines would dig through the deep snow and lie on top of the injured to provide warmth. The other dogs would return to the monks, alerting them of the stranded individual. Over the span of nearly 200 years, about 2,000 people, from children to soldiers, were rescued because of the heroic dogs on the St. Bernard Pass.
Through much crossbreeding, the dogs have become known as the St. Bernard breed and can be commonly found in households today. However, their deep history of saving lives truly gives the reputation of a “man’s best friend.”
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