Sully is a four-year-old Labrador Retriever who came into service at the side of former President George H.W. Bush. He rose to nationwide notoriety when he lay faithfully beside the casket of President Bush throughout the 2018 wake and funeral service of the former President.
Now, people will remember Sully H.W. Bush in perpetuity thanks to a recently unveiled bronze statue of the dog that was erected this Veteran’s Day at the America’s VetDogs campus on Long Island.
Renowned Sculptor Susan Bahary Commissioned by America’s VetDogs
Susan Bahary is a world-renowned sculptor. America’s VetDogs is the organization that trained and placed Sully with President Bush. VetDogs commissioned her to sculpt the adored service dog Sully in bronze. The sculptor met with Sully in preparation for the work. Bahary told CBS, “I had the joy of meeting Sully and spending three hours measuring, admiring, getting to know him.”
Statue Depicts Sully Holding his Leash in his Mouth
Bahary aimed to show Sully’s loyalty and devotion through her art as well as his skill as a service dog. Sully is positioned sitting with his head tilted up, holding his leash in his mouth. This is a skill that many service dogs are taught to do to help their handlers. Sully is shown wearing his America’s VetDogs official service dog vest as well. The vest has the Great Seal of the United States on it. The statue has been erected at the America’s VetDogs campus on Long Island.
Sully Now Works at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Sully was transferred to service at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after the passing of his beloved handler, former President George H.W. Bush. Every morning, a line of military servicemen and servicewomen await the comfort and support Sully provides.
Sully’s trainer, Valerie Cramer, told CBS2, “The beauty of Sully is that he crosses all barriers. Maybe he misses the job that he did before, but he is very happy to do what he’s doing now because he touches so many lives.”
America’s VetDogs Provide Service Dogs to Veterans and Front Line Workers
America’s VetDogs has trained and placed guide and service dogs to veterans since 2003. In 2015, they opened the program to first responders such as fire, police, and medical responders. The dogs help their handlers have more independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship that is invaluable for PTSD and other conditions associated with the life-saving work performed by these heroes. America’s VetDogs provides the dogs to those in need free of charge.
“Our service is available to all veterans, not just presidents,” said John Miller, president and CEO of America’s VetDogs. “And Sully did a great job, along with the Bush family who is just tremendous to work with, in helping shine a light on our services.” The costs associated with breeding, raising, and training each service dog is estimated at $50,000. If you’d like to donate to America’s VetDogs, please visit their website here.
Featured Image WUSA9.com and Evan Sisley/Office of George H.W. Bush