The dogs have traditionally been bred in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland to help rescue travellers who became lost in the snow. They may or may not have carried a small barrel of brandy around their necks – Mental Floss has sensibly pointed out that if you were freezing in a blizzard, alcohol would be the last thing you’d want as it dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow away from the body’s core – but the barrels have become part of their image in popular culture, regardless.
American mobile battery case company mophie worked with a group which rescues abused or unwanted St Bernard dogs, the St. Bernard Rescue Foundation, to coordinate a team of St Bernards which roamed the SXSW Interactive conference distributing battery juice to attendees with ailing devices.
To be “saved” by one of mophie’s rescue dogs, SXSW attendees had to tweet @mophie using the #mophieRescue hashtag with a screen shot of their dying smartphone battery icon and their current location. The company then tweeted back to selected users with a public reply, providing a link to an interactive map, powered by Glympse, which tracked the real-time location of their designated rescue dog.
By all accounts, the dogs and their cargo went down a treat.