Sully, George H.W. Bush's service dog, starts new job helping veterans

February 28, 2019, 10:09 a.m.
Sully the service dog in front George H. W. Bush's casket.
Photo: Office of George H. W. Bush-Evan Sisle

Before former President George H.W. Bush passed away last November at the age of 94, he had a trustworthy companion by his side — Sully, a yellow Labrador retriever.

Sully was raised by America's VetDogs, an organization that places service dogs with veterans as well as active-duty service members and first responders with disabilities. He was placed with Bush in July 2018. Bush required the use of a wheelchair and motorized scooter in the final years of his life due to Parkinson's disease. According to The Washington Post, Sully would perform tasks for Bush like picking up dropped objects, opening doors and supporting him while standing.

Sully traveled with Bush's casket to funeral services in Texas and Washington, D.C. This picture was captured by Jim McGrath, a spokesperson for the family, tweeting it with the caption "Mission complete."

Sully's work as a service companion isn't over, however.

On Feb. 27, Sully started his new job at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and was given the rank of hospital corpsman second class. His main responsibility will be to provide love and support to wounded veterans.

Sully even took the following personal oath:

"Do you affirm or pant as a hospital corpsman in the United States Navy that you will support, comfort and cure warriors and their families, active duty and retired? That you embrace our staff and bear unconditional love and solace, especially on busy days? That you take this obligation freely, without any promise of treats or tummy rubs and that you will faithfully discharge the duties to provide joy, love and nurturing for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and their families?"

"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," wrote Bush's son, George W. Bush on Instagram, referring to his father's role as the 41st president. The younger Bush served as the 43rd president.

Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was originally published in December 2018.