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George H.W. Bush and Sully the Service Dog: A Short But Special Friendship in Photos

George H.W. Bush and Sully the service Labrador retriever: their time together was brief, but their bond is undeniable. 

The 41st President of the United States, who died at the age of 94 on Friday, was matched with the specially trained canine in June. Over the past 6 months, Sully and Bush formed a friendship based on loyalty, love and trust — a friendship that extends beyond the former president’s death. 

Here is a look at the special time the pair shared together.

Sully —named after former airline pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, known for his famous emergency landing in New York City’s Hudson River in 2009 — arrived in Bush’s life after the former POTUS spent the months leading up to June 2018 in and out of the hospital for low blood pressure and fatigue. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, recommended that the Bush family work with America’s VetDogs, the same non-profit that trained one of Today’s Puppy with a Purpose pups, to find a dog that would be a perfect fit for Bush’s medical needs and a loyal companion to the former POTUS. 

After being specially trained by America’s VetDogs’ talented team to meet Bush’s particular needs, Sully arrived at Walker’s Point (the Bush compound) to meet his new best friend. The yellow Lab was escorted to his forever home by representatives from America’s VetDogs and a special guest: Bush’s friend and presidential successor, Bill Clinton.

Sully, who learned his basic commands from inmates through VetDogs’ prison puppy program, knew how to assist Bush with his day-to-day activities, but, being a dog, the service canine also knew how to put a smile on his owner’s face.

After the death of Barbara Bush, the former president’s wife of 73 years, in April 2018, it was important to have a beacon of joy at Walker’s Point. 

As with most service dogs, Sully became a permanent fixture in his owner’s life. Bush made his last public appearance a month ago, stopping at his local polling place to vote in the midterm elections, and Sully was right by his side.

This 6-month friendship certainly left an impression on Sully: George W. Bush shared a photo of his father’s coffin days after his death, with the service dog loyally staying by his late owner’s side. 


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