Former President and World War II Navy pilot George H.W. Bush was one of many veterans to benefit from a service dog during his retirement, and his dog Sully already has his next assignment now that Bush has passed.
Sully, a yellow labrador, is loved by the Bushes and thousands of fans who follow an instagram account chronicling his time helping the former president during daily life. America’s VetDogs, which trains and places dogs with veterans and first-responders, put Sully with Bush earlier this year and announced Sunday the dog will join Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s facility dog program after a stop in New York.
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"Sully will be working alongside fellow VetDogs facility dogs SGT Dillon and SGT Truman who are there to assist with physical and occupational therapy to wounded soldiers and active duty personnel during their journey to recovery at Walter Reed Bethesda," VetDogs said in a statement.
On Sunday, Bush spokesman Jim McGrath posted a picture of Sully lying by Bush’s flag-draped casket, which quickly went viral.
— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) December 3, 2018
The dog has also accompanied the family during the ceremonies marking Bush’s passing.
Sully went inside the funeral home with the family of President George H.W. Bush, then stood to the side as pallbearers escorted the casket, draped with an American flag, into the hearse.
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) December 3, 2018
John Miller, president and CEO of America’s VetDogs, thanked Bush for his work and vision for helping Americans with disabilities.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family during this difficult time," said John Miller, president and CEO of America’s VetDogs. "It was truly an honor to have provided service dog Sully to be by the president’s side for the past several months. 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."
Bush, also a former congressman, will be lying in state at the Capitol from Monday to Wednesday once his casket arrives from Houston. The casket will return to Texas for a funeral Thursday afternoon at his presidential library in College Station.
Sully can perform a bevy of sophisticated commands, including answering the phone and fetching lost items as small as a credit card. His fans have multiplied since his work gained more attention following Bush’s death, and an outpouring of appreciation for the dog has been part of the mourning process.
Sully has the watch. https://t.co/olnBtN4WgE
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) December 3, 2018
Wow. Sully will be joining the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Facility Dog Program to assist with physical and occupational therapy to wounded soldiers.
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) December 3, 2018