'Mission Complete:' Sully the service dog serves George to the end

Elizabeth Howe
December 03, 2018 - 9:45 am

Last night, Jim McGrath, White House spokesman for Former President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush, shared a picture of Sully H.W. Bush resting by the casket of his late owner — and it's as heartbreaking and heartwarming as you would expect it to be.

Sully and H.W. Bush met this past June, shortly after Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away in April. The president's team at Walter Reed reached out to America's VetDogs to find the perfect canine companion for the 94-year-old WWII veteran.

"It's an extremely high-touch process and each veteran has his or her own sets of needs," said John Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer of America's VetDogs. "While many of the dogs get the same base of training,  there are different skills that can be customized and we work with each of the veterans including the president to provide the best potential fit."

Sully was raised and trained through the VetDogs prison puppy program. In the program, inmates raise future service dogs until the dog is about 15 months old. The handlers work with puppies on housebreaking, obedience and standardized commands. They also teach the three foundations of service dog tasks: retrieve, tug, and push – all part of the VetDogs training curriculum. 

I LOVE my walks. I've been trained to walk next to my boss— and he always holds my leash as we go out. . . (xpost: @wethedogsdc ) . . . . . . #WeTheDogsDC #July4th #walkies #walkies-- #SullyHWBush #SullyBush #bush41 #instagood #goodboy #DogOfInstagram #TalesOfALab #InstaDog #InstaDogs #Dogs #AmericasVetDogs #GuidedogFoundation #labrador

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By the time two-year-old Sully met 41 in June, he could perform a two-page list of commands. 

"As one person 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," McGrath told CNN in June.

Sully was named after Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III,  the former airline pilot who became famous for landing a damaged passenger jet on the Hudson River in 2009.

My best friend has gotten some pretty rad socks, I’m rather a fan. . . . . . . . #bushSocks #41Socks #tongueOutThursday #41 #socks #selfie #tot #playtime #secretservice #SullyHWBush #SullyBush #bush41 #instagood #goodboy #DogOfInstagram #TalesOfALab #InstaDog #InstaDogs #Dogs #AmericasVetDogs #GuidedogFoundation #labrador

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Sully's mission is complete — he will accompany Bush on his travels to Washington D.C. during the first half of this week. His next mission will be at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center according to George W. Bush's post of the same photo.

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, that he brought to 41.

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