The Things They Fail To Tell You

Biggles Leap of FaithBiggles Statue, The Rocks, Sydney

I was on one of my jaunts recently and came across a pooch statue at The Rocks in Sydney. The inconspicuous statue is of a miniature Schnauzer, named Biggles. The plaque had a list of people and government bodies responsible for its commission. So, I am thinking this pooch must have done something extraordinary to have himself immortalized. So after some investigating I discovered Biggles was a local daredevil dog, often seen during the 1980’s and 1990’s, zooming through the streets of Sydney on the back of his owners motorcycle. Known for his antics like leaping from tall buildings (in a single bound) in pursuit of wayward cats, poor old Biggles was last seen leaping to his death off a cliff in Sydney Harbour. It has long been rumored the crazy mutt was chasing a rat and not a cat. There is something tragically funny in this dog tale and it reminds me of the story of Barry the St Bernard.

Barry The St Bernard

Many moons ago I did a story on old Barry. I traveled to the Cimetière des Chiens (Pet Cemetery) in Paris (I kid you not) specifically to track down the Barry monument. Barry was a rescue dog (the ones with the brandy keg around their necks) who had saved between 40-100 lives (sounds a bit of an exaggeration, but I digress). Unfortunately for Barry, the last one he rescued, killed him. Yes, I know it is an awful story but it gets even worse. In 1814 Barry was part of a rescue team sent to recapture an escapee who had fled into the snow in the mountains of Switzerland. Barry eventually found the prisoner unconscious, so like a good doggy he lay on top of him to keep him warm. When the prisoner came too, he found he had a 140kg fur coat lying on top of him and I guess he freaked out and stabbed Barry to death. Barry’s monument can be found in the Paris Pet Cemetery and his body is preserved in the Natural History Museum in Berne, Switzerland. I swear you can’t make this stuff up.


1 Comment

  1. Sandgroper said,

    February 27, 2008 at 11:48 am

    There is also a statue in Japan (at Shibuya station, I think? ) of a faithful dog named Hachikō . Evidently, the Akita dog would walk to the station every day to greet his master. One day the man failed to return, so the dog stayed. His owner had died, but the faithful dog returned each day to wait for his master. For ten years the dog continued to go to the station at the same time each day. The station master even had a special place for the dog to rest. Hachikō became a national celebrity after news of the faithful dog’s story reached the media. When he died, a statue was erected in his honor, but during the war they melted it down for the war effort. A new one was later erected in the late 1940’s.

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