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|St Bernard dogs with barrels around their neck
Written by Tracy W
(10/15/2006 6:12 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I always thought..., penned by Pennie
My mental association is that of alcohol being regarded as having healing powers and useful in cases of shock. You know that cliche of St Bernard dogs finding people lost in the snow, and the dogs wear collars with a small barrel containing some brandy, given the lost traveller the strength to stumble to their feet and follow the dog to shelter.
And Marianne's treatment struck me as falling into that category, the wine being given as a quick restorative.
Alcohol is one of the relatively few substances that gets past the blood-brain barrier to affect behaviour, so it's not surprising that it got prescribed for mental shocks.
Incidentally, I highly do not recommend giving anyone lost in the snow, or other weather, alcohol, as it expands the blood vessels near the skin and thus increases the danger of hypothermia. And apparently the legend of the dogs wearing collars is an urban legend, the monks of the Hospice of Saint Bernard did not tie brandy casks around the dogs' necks.
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