Thorsen uses the example of 'Barry the Saint Bernard' to present a conception of specimen-making in which narrative and image-making play as important a role as physicality and taxidermic texhnique. As she states, 'The stuffed Barry is an example of material objects that invite us to talk about what they are in themselves, as well as what they mean... Barry's biography serves as a good example of the shifting ways in which society and culture influence representations of animals in natural history museums. It also highlights the importance of taxidermy in shifting out gaze and thus molding our conceptions of the natural.' (128)

Dividing the historical Barry into two categories - 'myth and imagination' and 'nature and beastliness' - that broadly correlate to the living and the preserved dog, Thorsen suggests that 'The two fields are unified in the stuffed dog and in the history of the mount itself.' (129) Ultimately, she argues, it was a re-mounting of the Barry specimen in 1923 that 'materialized the imagined Saint Bernard and made it a tangible truth.' (145)