Sully, Was More Than President George H.W. Bush’s Service Dog, He Was A Part Of The Family

In what will be among the many poignant moments experienced during this week’s tribute to former President George H.W. Bush, who passed away on Friday, is the image of his loyal service dog lying in front of a flag-draped casket.

Two-year-old Sully, who was named after former airline pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, who became famous for landing a damaged passenger jet on the Hudson River in 2009, was specifically matched to provide support and companionship to Mr. Bush in his daily activities.

Earlier this year, on June 25th, President Bush took to social media to share his appreciation of Sully with a heartwarming photo and tweet introducing his new family member to his successor, former President Bill Clinton.

“A great joy to welcome home the newest member of our family, “Sully,” a beautiful — and beautifully trained — lab from @AmericasVetDogs. Could not be more grateful, especially for their commitment to our veterans.”

America’s VetDogs, the nonprofit organization that provided this special service dog to the 41st President of The United States, posted the moving photo and explained on their Facebook page that Sully will now be joining the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Facility Dog Program “to assist with physical and occupational therapy to wounded soldiers and active duty personnel during their journey to recovery at Walter Reed Bethesda.”

The response to this news has been mixed with many saluting the decision to have Sully, who even has his own Instagram account with 188,000 followers, continue to help other vets in need, while others have called for Sully to be retired and allowed to stay with the Bush family.

“It was truly an honor to have provided service dog Sully to be by the president’s side for the past several months,” John Miller, President and CEO of America’s VetDogs, said in a statement. “As a true patriot and a visionary, President Bush will forever be viewed by people with disabilities and their families as a hero through his efforts to enact the Americans with Disabilities Act. We are forever grateful to his service to the American people.”

According to a June statement released by the organization, Sully was raised and trained through the VetDogs prison puppy program, in which inmates raise future service dogs until the dog is about 15 months old. Once a dog returns back to VetDogs’ Smithtown campus, training begins, and specific tasks are fine-tuned and refined for an individual’s particular needs.

It reportedly costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog; however, all of VetDogs’ services are provided at no charge to the individual.

Please consider donating to support America’s VetDogs to help more service dogs like Sully assist disabled vets and first responders HERE!

R.I.P. George H. W. Bush, God Bless!

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