George H.W. Bush’s former service dog Sully gets new role

Former President George H.W. Bush‘s service dog Sully captured the hearts of the nation last winter when a photo of him laying beside the late president’s flag-draped casket went viral. Now, the dedicated yellow Labrador has a new way to serve his country.

The two-year-old pup began his new job as a member of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s facility dog program on Wednesday. During the ceremony that was live streamed on Facebook from Bethesda, Maryland, Sully took a personalized oath of enlistment as service members and dogs in the program looked on.

“Do you affirm or pant as a hospital corpsman in the United States Navy that you will support, comfort and cheer warriors and their families, active duty and retired?” asked a service member during the ceremony. “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 sailors and their families?”

Sully gave a paw-shake as a resounding yes and was then appointed as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman, second class. He even received a new “military uniform,” a vest to signify he is a member of the facility’s dog team.

The now-petty officer pup’s Instagram account posted a photo of the ceremony with a caption honoring his former owner, Mr. Bush: “It’s an honor and privilege to join a wonderful group of dogs at @WRNMMC and I look forward to continue my mission to serve veterans as my best friend wanted me to.”

Sully was trained by the charity America’s VetDogs, a nonprofit that provides veterans, active service members and first responders who have disabilities a service dog for free, according to its website. The dogs are trained to help their owners cope with various disabilities that range from blindness to PTSD.

The skilled dog joined the Bush family in June, shortly after Mr. Bush’s 94th birthday. John Miller, the CEO of America’s VetDogs, told CBS News that the pair were a perfect match. “I think it was Sully’s old soul, so to speak, that really won him over with the president,” said Miller.

Sully is named after Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, the airline pilot who was heralded as a hero after he landed a plane on the Hudson River in 2009, saving everyone on board. The incident came to be dubbed “the Miracle on the Hudson.”

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