Sully, gained national notice at former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral. The picture twitted by Jim McGrath showing the 2 year old yellow lab laying in front of the casket went viral. It pulled at the heart strings of dog lovers everywhere.
Cynics immediately responded that Sully was only an employee who had been with George H.W. Bush for only 6 months. Though that is true it does not mean a strong bond had not been formed. Sully was specifically matched with the former President who was in a wheelchair and grieving the loss of Barbara, his wife of 73 years who died in April. Bush described Sully, who was named after the pilot who landed in the Hudson River in 2009, as a “beautiful and beautifully trained” companion. With the ability to perform over 2 pages of commands including answering the phone, it is no doubt Sully and the former President formed a close bond.
Photo Credit: Nation-Now
Sully will continue his service at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Facilities Dog Program in Betheseda, Md. in January. He will join two facility dogs, SGT Dillon and SGT Truman, to provide therapy to wounded soldiers and active duty personnel. The dogs work with service members as they learn to adapt to prosthetic limbs.
Sully received his specialized training at America’s VetDogs, a New York-based nonprofit organization which trains service and guide dogs for military veterans and 1st responders with disabilities. Service dogs like Sully begin their training at Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections in Hagerstown, Maryland in the prison puppy program. Inmate handlers work with puppies on housebreaking, obedience, and the three foundations of service dog tasks-retrieve, tug and push.
Around 15 months dogs return to the VetDogs campus for specialized task training. Trained service dogs assist with daily tasks like turning on lights, opening doors and drawers, picking up items, pulling wheelchairs and fetching things.
In June Former President Bush twitted how grateful he was to have Sully join his family. Sully will continue to serve America’s veterans in his new assignment.