Sunday, April 18, 2010

"To the Rescue" from Edcon Publishing.

Something you will read about: hospice, a place, often maintained by monks, where travelers can stop and rest. Alpine dogs helped many travelers reach safety.

Barry was a rescue dog at the Saint Bernard Hospice long ago. The hospice stood on a lonely peak in the Alps near the only passage between Italy and Switzerland. Travelers climbing this cold, icy path faced many dangers. Without warning, sudden storms would start, and a whole mountainside would thunder down in a rush of ice and rock. Instantly, snow would hide the path. Travelers could become lost and the victims of hungry wolves.

During storms, Barry searched for weary, half-frozen strangers and led them to the
hospice where they were welcomed with a roaring fire, hot food, and warm beds.
People were fortunate to find help on their journeys. Before the hospice had been built, there was no help for travelers. Savage men, who hid in caves, robbed and beat strangers roaming the mountain passes.

The pass was the only road to a valley where peasants found work. When returning to their homes, many met with misfortune. Protecting poor people was the responsibility of a nearby church. Injured people, who had been robbed and escaped to return home, were helped by kindly monks.

One day a monk from the church went into the mountains to help poor, lost wanderers. He persuaded the people who lived there to let him build a shelter where travelers could rest in safety. His love for helpless people caused him to exert all his efforts to this work for the rest of his life. When he died, he was remembered as Saint Bernard of Menthon.

The greatest accomplishment of Saint Bernard was to build a shelter high in the Swiss Alps. After nearly one thousand years, a shelter stands in the same spot and is known as the Saint Bernard Hospice.

Saint Bernard did not do all this work alone. Other monks went up the mountain to help, and they took guard dogs as protection from wolves. They did not know that the dogs would become famous for rescue work. The monks learned that their dogs could always find a way back to the shelter during dense fogs and blizzards. In snowstorms, even strong, mature travelers often lost the way and were led to safety by the dogs.
Sometimes, the dogs would stop suddenly on the trail and shift to a different path. The dogs could feel the earth vibrate through the deep snow. They knew that rocks and ice would come crashing down the mountain.

By exerting their natural instincts, the dogs rescued many wanderers. The monks trained them to go out in storms alone to search for travelers lost in the snow. The monks discovered that their dogs could find someone buried under seven feet of snow. The dogs dug away the snow, licked the face of the traveler, and then led him to the shelter. If the traveler did not move, the dogs returned to the monks for help. Many legends are told about these marvelous dogs. Once, in 1800, they helped the French general, Napoleon Bonaparte.

It was during his famous crossing of the Alps with forty thousand soldiers. The soldiers were exhausted from their climb up the mountain. They had worn out many pairs of shoes in their struggle over the rugged rock and ice. Ten men, pulling a heavy cannon, had a misfortune. They fell into a deep ravine hidden by fallen snow. Dogs from the hospice found them and led them to safety and a warm supper.

In that same year, Barry was born. He became the most famous of all rescue dogs. During his twelve years of work at the hospice, Barry saved forty lives - perhaps more. His greatest accomplishment makes an amazing story. It happened when Barry was a trained, mature dog. He had been helping the monks rescue a traveling party. As they returned to the hospice, Barry suddenly turned away. The monks called to him, but Barry would not return and the others had to continue without him.

The monks worried about Barry and watched for his return. Hours passed before they saw him come carefully up the path to the hospice with something on his back. The strange thing on his back was a little girl that Barry had found lying in the snow. She was too cold to travel further. Barry stretched out next to her in the snow, and she grabbed his fur and clung to his back. Then the dog arose and carried her to the hospice. He understood his responsibility.

Barry was an old dog when he died. According to legend, it was the evening of a furious storm. Slumbering on the floor, Barry felt the mountain vibrate. He barked as a warning of danger and paced the floor. The kind monks did not want to let the brave old dog out in the blinding snow, but Barry insisted and they opened the door. Barry raced into the icy night to find a soldier buried under snow. When Barry licked his frozen face, the soldier awoke and, thinking Barry a wolf, drove his sword through the brave animal. The wounded Barry returned to the shelter for help, leaving a trail of blood. The monks followed his trail, and the soldier was rescued.

To honor his great deeds, money was collected for a statue of Barry carrying a small child on his back. His body was preserved and is still in a museum in Switzerland.
These gentle dogs of mercy are called Saint Bernards in honor of the founder of the hospice. In two hundred fifty years, they rescued more than two thousand people. And always, at the Saint Bernard Hospice, one dog is named Barry in memory of the most famous of them all.

1. Barry was _______
a. a hungry wolf.
b. a victim of hungry wolves.
a lonely traveler.
d. a rescue dog.

2. People who traveled through the mountain pass faced ____
a. one kind of danger.
b. several kinds of danger.
c. no danger at all.
d. very little danger.

3. Saint Bernard's most important work was ______
a. the training of rescue dogs.
b. the building of a church in the Swiss Alps.
c. the building of a shelter for travelers.
d. reporting weather conditions in the mountains.

4. The fact that the guard dogs could do rescue work ______
a. had been known by the monks for many years.
b. came as a surprise to the monks.
c. was discovered shortly before the shelter was built.
d. was never discovered by the monks.

5. Saint Bernard most likely studied _____
a. religion.
b. government.
c. travel literature.
d. music.

6. When a person was buried under the snow, the second thing the dog would do was ____
a. lick his or her face.
b. dig through the snow.
c. return to the monks for help.
d. lead the person to the shelter.

7. One dog at the Saint Bernard Hospice is always named ______
a. Napoleon Bonaparte.
b. Monk.
c. Barry.
d. Bernard.

8. The gentle Saint Bernard dogs have rescued more than ______
a. two thousand people.
b. forty people.
c. eighteen hundred people.
d. two hundred fifty people.

9. Another name for this story could be ________
a. "Dog Legends."
b. "The Most Famous Rescue Dog."
c. "Winter in the Alps."
d. "The Founder of a Hospice."

10. This story is mainly about _________
a. the life of Saint Bernard.
b. the terrible weather in the Alps.
c. a famous St. Bernard dog.
d. the ways in which monks help people.

A journey to the Saint Bernard Hospice from Youtube:

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