Azur is no longer with us

Judging by her appearance, you would never have thought that she was eleven and three-quarter years old. But physically, she was on the decline over the past few months and weeks, and recently she was not very well at all. She slept virtually all day long. She was no longer able to eat standing up, but had to adopt a lying position to empty her feeding bowl. She could scarcely walk five metres before having to stop and lie down for a rest. She was interested in hardly anything except for food.


We had her put to sleep on 24 July after it became clear to all those concerned, particularly the doctors, that this was the best thing for her. Verlie is now the only remaining dog out of the fifteen hospice Saint Bernards that the Barry Foundation took over from the Holy Order in 2005. We all hope that she will be able to celebrate her thirteenth birthday on 16 August.


Azur was a Swiss Beauty Champion and Swiss Veteran Beauty Champion. She was chosen as the best Saint Bernard at the show organised to mark the 125th year anniversary of the Swiss St. Bernard Club in Martigny in 2009. Azur had one litter of puppies, which gave us Kosima, a very good social dog whose speciality is visiting nursing homes for the elderly.


Azur had the great privilege of being allowed to help open the new permanent Barry exhibition at the Natural History Museum of Bern in June 2014. She took part in the maiden journey of the Barry tram on the Wednesday before also attending the media conference. She then participated in the festivities on the Thursday evening, including the podium speech and the vernissage held immediately afterwards. She was also present at the children's afternoon event on the Saturday. During all these activities, she was led by Iris, the daughter of the Director of the Natural History Museum of Bern.


Even as recently as autumn 2014, at almost exactly eleven years old, Azur made her way up the steep path from the valley station of the Gurtenbahn funicular railway as far as the Gurten hotel outside the gates of Berne in just three quarters of an hour. Together with Halix, she was involved in two special treats arranged at the hotel for two separate groups of over 200 Japanese guests. The two Saint Bernard bitches were the highlight of the evening on both occasions.


Written by Rudolf Thomann, former Managing Director of the Barry Foundation Barry/27.07.15