Volcanoes,Frankenstein, A Year Without a Summer, Mormons, and St. Bernards


Through the 1920s Barry (left) was arguably the most famous dog in the world outside a Jack London novel.  He was over shadowed to the point of obscurity by Rin Tin Tin and a slew of movie dogs, but he was the real deal. He was bred to be a rescue dog, lived from 1800 to 1816 in the Swiss Alps and rescued 40 people over the course of a legendary career.

Barry was a St. Bernard – indeed, he lived in the Great St. Bernard Hospice.  That he is not exactly identifiable as a St. Bernard is not surprising, and therein lies a story.

On April 5, 1815, Mt. Tambora, in what is now Indonesia, began to erupt.  Five days later, it exploded in the largest, most powerful, eruption in 1500 years.  Massive does not begin to cover it – the explosion was heard 1600 miles away, Tambora’s ash cloud blotted…

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