Since humans’ have domesticated dogs, they have managed to become our best friends. A famous saying goes as follows – “To us, pet dogs are a parcel of our lives; but to them, we are their entire universe”. Just as pet dogs have emotionally and physically assisted us for centuries, service dogs have gained popularity in the past couple of decades. They are primarily trained to aid the elderly and disabled, providing them with emotional support and also assisting them in activities that have become too difficult for them to perform.
On 30th November, 2018, the 41st president of the United States George H. W. Bush passed away at 94 years of age. While his death was mourned across the nation, it was his service dog that managed to capture attention. Sully H.W. Bush is a yellow Labrador service dog that became the late President’s companion earlier this year, after former first lady Barbara Bush passed away in June 2018. He was named after former airline pilot Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, who became famous for landing a damaged passenger jet on the Hudson River and saving all 155 passengers and crew in 2009. Sully was trained by America’s VetDogs and can perform a two-page list of commands, including answering the phone and fetching items. America’s VetDogs is a charity that provides service dogs to veterans, active-duty service members and first responders with disabilities.
His training was pivotal in providing assistance to a dilapidated George H. W. Bush. His spokesman, Jim McGrath, said, “He can do just about anything except make you a martini, but not to worry, he can go get you someone to make you a martini instead.” After H. W. Bush passed away, McGrath posted an image of Sully next to Bush’s casket on Sunday along with the caption, “Mission complete.” Sully also has a huge following on Instagram, under the handle @sullyhwbush.
The image was shared across social media, where the love of a service dog for its owner was clearly visible in Sully’s grief-stricken eyes. According to a source familiar with the plans, Sully will be traveling with Bush’s casket on his flight to Washington, DC. He will be returned to America’s VetDogs after the memorial service, where he will temporarily stay through the holiday season. Next year, he will go back into service to help other veterans at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The son of the late President, George W. Bush said, “As much as our family is going to miss this dog, we’re comforted to know he’ll bring the same joy to his new home, Walter Reed.”
John Miller, President and CEO of America’s VetDogs, also expressed his regards on the event. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family during this difficult time,” Miller said. “It was truly an honor to have provided service dog Sully to be by the president’s side for the past several months.”