If there’s ever been a dog who deserved a statue to commemorate his good deeds, it’s Sully, President George H.W. Bush’s service dog and companion. Ever steadfast and loyal, Sully H.W. Bush was always by the former president’s side, even after the president died.
The famous photo of Sully lying near Bush’s flag-draped casket prior to the memorial was enough to bring a tear to the eyes of many who saw the image that went viral.
To recognize this very good and loyal dog, a bronze statue was unveiled for him on Nov. 10, 2020 in Smithtown, New York, where the yellow Labrador was born in 2016 and then raised to be of service to veterans who needed him. Only with President Bush for six months, it was a time well spent and whereby a strong bond was made. Sully’s dedication didn’t waver throughout his service to the former president, a World War II veteran.
“I had the joy of meeting Sully and spending three hours measuring, admiring and getting to know him,” sculptor Susan Bahary said at the ceremony. While measuring Sully for the bronze statue of his likeness, she was able to get to know him and learned really fast about this special dog’s devotion. So, she decided to do a good deed herself by dedicating the statue to America’s VetDogs, which provides service dogs to disabled veterans so they can live independently and with dignity.
“Our services are available to all veterans, not just presidents,” John Miller, president and CEO of America’s VetDogs, told CBS New York. “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.”
Breeding, raising and training an assistance dog such as Sully is not cheap. The full cost is upwards of $50,000 for one dog. However, America’s VetDogs offers its services free to disabled veterans.
And about that iconic photograph of Sully near Bush’s casket? It was captured at the funeral home by Evan Sisley, personal aide and senior medic to the former president. “For me in many ways it was just very symbolic of his role with President Bush,” Sisley said of the dog who was the recipient of the 2019 ASPCA Public Service Award. “Sully was the right dog, at the right moment for the right mission.”
While Sully was devoted to former President Bush until the very end, as they say, “A dog’s work is never done.” Sully continues to this day working at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. It is here that he continues helping servicemen and women, comforting them on a daily basis.
President Bush would be proud.
You can watch the unveiling of the statue here:
Featured photos: Left photo of Sully lying at the casket of former president George H.W. Bush by Evan Sisley. Right photo of Sully with his bronze likeness by James Chang, America’s VetDogs